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Interboro building a winning tradition on the ice

ASTON >> Interboro has a tremendous athletic reputation, mostly in the gym and on the grid iron. Now a collection of Bucs is trying to build tradition on the ice. Stephen Schwartz is chief among them. The senior joined the club as a freshman in 2014, Interboro’s first season of hockey after a long dormant period. On Wednesday night, Schwartz helped create history: the Bucs’ 13-8 triumph over Bonner-Prendergast in South Division play was their second win in a row, the first time they’ve achieved that at the varsity level in this latest incarnation.

“Everybody who sees Interboro knows that we’re a new club hockey team and thinks, ‘they’re not going to be anything big,’” said Schwartz, who scored five times in the victory. “You can look at the scores: when we win, we win big. We have some kids that can do things. We may not be the best team in Interboro, but we’re wearing that logo proudly, and we’re going out putting respect on the name.”

The Bucs had a distinct advantage over the Friars from the beginning. Bonner, which has players from Archbishop Bonner as well as Upper Darby, was without its starting goaltender, Connor Lewis, who was sick. Defenseman Tyler Breischaft filled in admirably in net, making 23 saves.

Still, Interboro had to create the offense and the Bucs did, mostly through Schwartz but also through Dylan Sangmeister (four goals) and Jake Reifer (three). The team possesses impressive depth for an outfit that relied on one or two veterans two seasons ago and a handful of hockey newbies. The improvement is staggering.

“The team has come a long way in just the two years I’ve been here,” said Interboro (2-1-0-1, 2-0 South) head coach Tom Aikens. “The kids have been positive. They talk about it in school. They’re trying to get more people in involved. I think we’re progressing.”

Schwartz’s leadership in addition to his offensive prowess has keyed that success. “His presence here is fantastic,” said Aikens. “His positive attitude when he’s talking to the players is really a plus and really helps the kids, helps the program. (If) Steve has a good game (then) more and more of the players have a good game.”

A member of the 18U Midget Elite Jr. Flyers, Schwartz devotes much of his time to the club game; he doesn’t need to be so involved in a young program. But it’s important to him.

“I think it’s everybody’s dream to play for their school, wear the crest and just go out there in front of all their friends,” Schwartz said. “Yeah, commitment for club is hard, but you do it for the crest, the school.”

An opponent on Bonner, Jakob Moleski, is in a similar boat. Moleski, an Upper Darby junior, plays for the 16U Midget National Jr. Flyers and has crossed paths with Schwartz over the last year. He calls him a good friend, and that reflected in the duo’s play. Moleski, who possesses terrific hands and a lethal wrist shot, scored five of the Friars’ eight goals (Tim Campbell, Pat Jensen and Tyler Ruppert accounted for the others), many of them on solo efforts.

“It’s fun,” Moleski said of playing with Bonner (2-2-0-1, 2-2-0-1). “I get to get away from all the really competitive hockey and have some fun while I can. I enjoy making other players better, trying to get them points. I mean I like to play the game.”

Anytime he was matched with Schwartz, Moleski tried to outperform his friend and vice versa. There was an extra slash here, a fancier move there.

“Anytime you get to play against someone you know, it’s always fun, something to compete with,” said Schwartz. “I love seeing the kid out there. I know we get to play one more time. That’s what I’m going to look forward to most, going out there playing against him, seeing what I can do against him and what he can do against me. It’s a game within a game.”

That competitive spirit drives their games; it also raises the profiles of the programs they represent.

Elsewhere in the ICSHL:

Springfield 6, Spring-Ford 5 >> Steven Griffin’s power-play goal 38 seconds into the third period gave Springfield the cushion it needed.

The Cougars are now 11-0 on the season. Once again, Kevin Brown was the offensive star. After the Rams took an early lead, Brown scored twice in the first period. He added a third goal with the man advantage in the second. In fact, Springfield was 4-4 on the power play as special teams played a key role in the narrow contest. Aidan Smith had a goal and three assists for the Cougars, while Lachlan Plummer made 27 saves in net.

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