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Hockey sees newfound success

MATT NENNINGER, Staff Writer

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Hockey is often regarded as one of the more physically demanding sports, sometimes being referred to as “football on ice.” Physical endurance, mental endurance, and abundant (or little) success are all important parts of the game.
The Wethersfield- Rocky Hill- Middletown- Plainville hockey team has endured all of these aspects of the game, and this year it does not seem to be stopping anyone.
In years past, the Middletown co-ops have suffered from many losses and weak all around play. However, the school has made a comeback with both new and strong returning players.
This season, the team is 15-1, a large improvement even over last winter.
Coach Dennis Tulimieri seems to be satisfied with the work the team has put in so far. “We have done very well in terms of developing a strong team effort.” He also commented on their record, “This is one of our most successful early season records ever.”
MHS sophomore Ben Mroczka is also enjoying the season thus far. “I love being on the team, there’s definitely a different vibe this year and we all are on the same page on what our goal is for the end of the season, we all get along well together and it’s a second family for me…the team’s success has been very good this year as we are 15-1, we are ranked 2nd in the power rankings, and we are playing very good hockey this year, people just don’t know what there’s to come this year”.
Contributing to the success are some new (and welcomed) additions to the team.
New this year, Plainville was added to the co-op, and the addition has affected the team positively. “The Plainville players have been a positive influence on our team both on and off the ice,” Tulimieri said.
Mroczka also commented on the addition of Plainville, “Plainville this year has added 3 new players to our program, as they give more help to the team and are a great add on to our hockey family.”
Also, another key contributor from the school has had a major role in team success and bonding. “One of the key players in our success this year has been the stellar performance by our goalie, [senior captain] Stephen Vaughan. Supported by strong team play in front of him Steve has responded and recorded 3 shutouts with a state leading 1.0 GAA (one point zero Goals Against Average) and a 94% save percentage,” said Tulimieri.
For those that do not speak hockey, that is one good looking goalie resume.
These players do not have it quite the same as other winter sports. Early morning practices and late night games, almost always occurring on school days, would take a toll on many individuals.
Not these guys though.
Tulimieri said, “The early morning practices actually help our endurance and skill development… I would venture to say the game time has very little effect on the team – our only loss was a Saturday afternoon game”.
Mroczka went on to say that, “The early morning practices aren’t as bad as you think, we get up at 4 and we are at the rink at 4:30, and it gives us a better opportunity to get more ice time and work on what we need for the future games…the late night games are always exciting, as we get more people to come to the games, we just stay pumped up and keep the game focus and the same motive to come out and play hard for our fans and each other”.
While most student athletes are sleeping at two in the morning or relaxing at seven at night, these motivated players are at the rink taking hits, shooting pucks, and winning games too.
“I do think that we have a very good chance of making states,” said Mroczka.
He added, “This is a different team this year, and we all know what role to play on the ice and we will be very successful.”

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The student news site of Middletown High School
Hockey sees newfound success