The Hun School will bid to win another Mercer County Tournament title in ice hockey—and the same foe will be waiting for the Raiders.
Hun seeks it seventh straight Mercer County Tournament championship and will meet Princeton High School for the fourth consecutive season in the title game.
Hun earned a ticket to the MCT final when it defeated Robbinsville High School, 4-2, in the semifinals on Feb. 18 at the Mercer County Skating Center in West Windsor Township.
Hun and Princeton will play for the Mercer County Tournament championship on Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mercer County Skating Center.
Hun will also attempt to win its 10th overall MCT championship.
“Princeton High, we scrimmaged in the first week of the year, and we had some good games with them. We’ve had close games,” Hun coach Ian McNally said. “When we are winning in games, our guys feel good and are happy and it only gets better. If something goes wrong in the first period or two it is kind of a rollercoaster of emotions for our team. If in the first 10 minutes we can score a couple goals, everyone will feel in their right frame of mind to go and get it done.”
The game against fourth-seeded Robbinsville was a physical back-and-forth battle for Hun.
“Our team’s execution at the start of the game against Robbinsville was not as good as I would have hoped. We were not really creating chances. We would have the puck, but it would not lead to anything,” McNally said. “Execution was average in the game, but got better as the periods went on. We definitely need to tighten up everything a little bit.”
He explained that the team likes to control the puck all of the time.
“I would hope to start right away in the title game against Princeton,” McNally said.
McNally switched out sophomore goalie Jack Borek with freshman Stephen Chen in the second period of the Robbinsville game and said that is was by design.
“We had said coming in we had a goalie senior Jackson Cole, who isn’t playing because he repeated freshman year. He is not eligible to play, so before the game started ,we said we are going to split all of these games between goalie Jack Borek and Stephen Chen,” McNally said.
Before he was forced to sit, Cole recorded 330 saves as goalie this winter.
Borek has produced 208 saves and Chen has registered 85 saves during the 2019-20 high school season.
“We hoped to be in this position playing for the Mercer County Tournament title. I feel that this season has been very successful, even though our record is not the best,” McNally said. “We have been in all the games that we have played. Every third period we are fighting to win or to catch up to somebody. It really has been a feel good season.”
Hun is 9-13-2 overall in the 2019-20 season.
Offensively, the team has been led by junior forward Eddie Evaldi, who has produced 19 goals and 27 assists, junior forward Charles Lavoie with 15 goals and 21 assists, and Elliott Lareau collecting 14 goals and 22 assists.
“No matter what happen Friday, our season is over after that. It is hard to play your last hockey game and win,” McNally said. “It would be nice to do that.”
Junior forward Charles Lavoie said the team knew they had more talent than Robbinsville in the semifinal.
“In the beginning we took things soft, when we started rolling we scored goals,” Lavoie said. “It is kind of amazing to be defending our title this Friday. We know the crowd will be amazing and that everyone from school will be here. It will be a fun game against rival PHS.”
He said that Hun wants to put the puck in the net this Friday and keep things simple.
“We don’t want to be puck hogs on the ice, we just want to go out and score some goals,” Lavoie said. “Our key to getting the title will be to play with out talent, we know we can do it. We just need to be confident with the puck and everything will go fine.”