Huskies’ Hockey Team Freezing The Attitude, Netting Early Success - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Huskies’ Hockey Team Freezing The Attitude, Netting Early Success

January 18th, 2019 SanTan Sun News
Huskies’ Hockey Team Freezing The Attitude, Netting Early Success
Sports and Recreation

By Carson Roberts

Contributing Writer

Having lost many of his top performers to graduation, Hamilton High hockey coach Tim Newlin saw it as an opportunity to mold a younger team in a way he couldn’t with one loaded with seniors.

“Some of the kids ran the bench and dictated things, and certainly weren’t very respectful to the coaching staff that was in place,” Newlin said. “That’s going to be different this year.”

The Huskies have already seen success. They cruised to a 4-0-0 preseason record and were 9-8-0 through December, in third place in Arizona High School Hockey Association Division 1 behind the two teams that played in last year’s state-championship game, Notre Dame Prep and Pinnacle.

Their early-season success is a direct result of Newlin’s more structured approach. He wants his team to control puck possession, emphasizing teamwork rather than individual performance.

The Huskies still have talent, especially up front with Patrick Murphy (11 points through 17 games), Connor Bottrill (8 points) and Jake Wreschner (4).

Carter Newlin has emerged as the scoring leader with 15 points, including a team-leading 10 goals.

Murphy, now a senior, was the team leader last season with 12 goals and 22 points. The playmaking forward did a lot of damage on the power play, netting four goals.

Connor Bottrill burst onto the AHSHA scene last year, dishing out 11 assists as a junior, which led the team. Bottrill tied for second on the team in goals with 9.

Wreschner, a senior, matched Bottrill’s goal mark with 9 of his own last year; however, his 58 penalty minutes also placed him second on the team. Wreschner is aware of the adjustments he must make, citing a key moment from the Huskies’ 5-2 playoff loss to Notre Dame Prep.

In the second period, there was a battle along the boards for the puck. Wreschner came in hard, checking a Notre Dame player from behind, Wreschner recalled.

The referees saw it and sent Wreschner to the penalty box. The Saints scored on the ensuing power play.

“If I hadn’t done that, then we would have had a lead going into the third period and it would’ve been a different game,” Wreschner said.

Logan Bellar and Hayden Manning also emerged during the first half of the season.

Although Bellar is a senior this is his first year with the team. The big, puck-moving defenseman has carved out an important role for the Huskies with 7 goals and 14 points through 17 games.

Bellar, taking some of the offensive responsibility, was recruited during the off season by players on the team.

“All of my friends played and they said it was fun, so I decided to join,” Bellar said.

In the end, the Huskies’ success is riding on Manning’s ability in goal. The junior replaces Guy Blessing, a two-year starter who helped carry the team.

“We had to figure out our goalie situation this year, and it’s worked out great with Hayden Manning in net,” Newlin said.

Hamilton allowed 47 goals through 17 games, third-fewest in the league.

The Huskies once again appear to be chasing Notre Dame Prep and Pinnacle, placing them atop the best of the rest at midseason in Division 1 in AHSHA. Their improvement over the second half will determine if they can close the gap and compete for a title.

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