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Council Rock South ice hockey is off to a quick start

Council Rock South puck-handler Andrew Darling leans into a shot in Golden Hawks' ice hockey battle with CB West that took place recently at Hatfield Ice. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)

HATFIELD – The Council Rock South ice hockey team certainly knows how to break out of the gate quickly. Presently, the Golden Hawks hold a firm grip on the number one spot in the Suburban One Ice Hockey League National Division.

South leads their division with a 4-0-1 league record. Even more impressive, they have outscored their opponents by a 41-8 margin. Their only blemishes were a 4-4 tie to sister school Council Rock North and a 3-1 non-league loss to perennial Continental champ Central Bucks South.

Going into the season, Jared Wagenmann, senior wing, did not know how the Hawks would fare. “I love this team. The one thing that is tough is that I have never been on a team with so few players. I love to be on the ice but the downside is having to go on the ice every single time. You start to get tired.”

PHOTOS: Council Rock South 2017 Ice Hockey vs CB West

The numbers dwindled when the Hawks lost two key players. “Dylan Feoli and Matt Owens are out. I’m not sure that Matt will be back because he had surgery on his arm. Dylan is coming back next week.”

Losing two stalwarts necessitated moving players around, a strategy that directly affected Jared, “I normally play wing but Coach Houck is trying to get me to play center. At center, you do all the work down low. The breakout is essential if you’re a center. You have to swing low so that defenders can send you the puck.”

In essence, the coach needed Jared to become more of a scorer, a role the senior welcomed. “My goal is to lead the league in points. When I was younger, I could score whenever I wanted but as years went by, I didn’t practice that as much. I became more of a passer. With key players gone, I need to shoot the puck more.”

Only six games into the season, Jared is already meeting his objective. He presently has 5 goals and 7 assists for 12 points. He trails only teammate Matt Mele, who has recorded 14 goals and 3 assists. Both Golden Hawks trail CR North’s Zac Herman who leads the league with 11 goals and 11 assists.

Jared really stepped up his game in the Hawks’ recent 10-2 thumping of Central Bucks West. He scored his team’s third, fourth and sixth goals. His first tally came somewhat unexpectedly.

“It surprised me a little bit. One of our defensemen shot the puck and it was wide but it came right off the boards to my stick. I thought it was going to hit off the net but it came right to me and before the goalie could slide over it went in.”

For goal number two, Jared relied on a trick maneuver. “I’ve tried this a few times and it didn’t always work. When the goalie is out of the paint and a player jumps in to cover it, they expect me to come around the net and fire the puck at the goal. I just shot it off the back leg of the defender and hoped it trickled in.”

Jared’s last score was more conventional. “I picked up speed, got to the inside on a breakaway and knew if I got the goalie to move, I could just give him a head fake.”

Despite his own heroics, Jared values the effort of his teammates even more. He felt the blending of talent started with an opening scrimmage against Roman Catholic.

“I was afraid we wouldn’t have it this year. Then, we went out and played well and I knew we were set for the season. Matt Mele started to play really well. Andrew Stoychev and Logan Hurwitz really stepped up. I realized we had something special.”

The defense also drew Jared’s praise. “Our two top goalies, Mason Procz and Jeremy Siegel, save us whenever we’re not playing well. They are a huge part of why we win. Collin Kleiser is a sophomore defender. When I’m not moving as fast as I should, he’s always there.”

The Golden Hawks will need to continue to play their best as they take on non-league opponents Holy Ghost Prep and La Salle in the next two weeks.

“After the West game, we were feeling good. Coach (Joe) Houck said we played pretty well. I love coach because he always has something nice to say. He said the next few weeks, we have tough games against Holy Ghost and La Salle. We will need to be ready for them. They’ll be a real test.”

Based on the first six games, the Golden Hawks should be more than ready to meet the challenge.

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