The skates are hung in the lockers with care with hopes the second half of the season soon will be there.
And so with all due respect to Clement Moore and his classic Christmas poem, the NESCAC boys are off to papers, finals and home for the holidays after an always-late start to the season and compression of a few games to get their game figured out.
And just what have the coaches seen so far? Enough to know that a quick email to that jolly old elf just might bring some needed magic to fix what ails their team for hockey in the New Year.
So here is this “elf’s” opinion on what the coaches may be looking to find around or under their tree this holiday season to make it all right for the second half.
Amherst Lord Jeffs
Santa, coach Jack Arena would like to know if that sack has any magic healing elixirs to patch up a depleted roster. Overall, they finished at 6-2-0 in the first half, but with a very thin bench and they will need that depth in the challenges of the second half, starting with the holiday tournament hosted by Norwich after the New Year.
Bowdoin Polar Bears
Already, 30 players have laced them up for Bowdoin in just the first 10 games of the season as coach Terry Meagher looks to find that consistent core lineup, so Santa, how about helping out the coach with some health and prosperity for veterans Kyle Lockwood and Ollie Koo in the second half to help lead Bowdoin back towards the top of the standings?
It would only be fitting that a senior statesman such as Mr. Claus would help some Colby seniors continue their successful start to the season as a nice stocking stuffer for coach Blaise MacDonald. Seniors Ben Chwick, Nick Lanza, Jack Bartlett and Brendan Cosgrove are all among the scoring leaders for the Mules and have provided needed and timely goals this season. More of the same for 2014, please!
Connecticut College Camels
For sure, coach Jim Ward would love for Santa to fill all of the stockings with magic goal-scoring tape or magic pucks as the Camels have struggled offensively so far this season with just 1.89 goals-for per game. So please, Santa, fill up the stockings so the Camels can fill up the net in the second half of the season.
Please keep the streak intact, Santa! That is what coach Rob Haberbusch might be saying about his team’s current 2-0-1 unbeaten streak to close out the semester that included a tie with league leaders Williams and a win over Middlebury. Not to be greedy, but please keep Michael Di Mare healthy for the second half so he can continue his strong point production for the Continentals.
Santa, this might be déjà vu and a repeat request from coach Bill Beaney, who is looking for that gift of confidence and consistency among his goaltenders on the roster. His team can play with anyone as evidenced by their tie with cross-state rival Norwich, but they could really use some Christmas spirit between the pipes. Please don’t let this Christmas wish get by you, Santa!
Santa, please don’t tinker with this group much. Other than the blip on the radar screen against Stonehill, coach Matt Greason’s team has been pretty consistent in battling every night. So Santa, feel free to load up on the milk and cookies at the players’ homes over the holidays so when they come back, they are in shape and ready for the heart of the conference schedule.
Ho, Ho, Hold on there Santa! Can we please get coach Brian Murphy some relief with cutting down on the opposition’s goals and a better penalty kill? The Jumbos have surrendered four or more goals in six of their nine games this season, so every little bit helps for this team that broke through in conference play with a big win at Colby last week.
Whatever magic and youthful enthusiasm that is translating into such a productive season for freshman Elliott Vorel and his 19 points at the break, please feel free to put some more of that in the stockings, under the tree or anywhere really. Oh, and coach Chris Potter would love to have that spread around a little more beyond Tommy Hartnett and Keith Buehler as well for the second half. Thanks, big guy!
Seriously, coach Bill Kangas? You are going to ask for something from the jolly old elf? You are in first place and have given up just nine goals in the first seven games. Sean Dougherty is playing out of his mind (.955 SP, 1.26 GAA) and three of your freshmen are among the leaders in points on your roster. How about this from Santa? Would you like a perfect night of great outdoor hockey weather at Citi Frozen Fenway so the team that may be the best kept secret in the division gets a little special attention on the big stage? Santa has a pretty good relationship with Old Man Winter, so he will see what he can do.
So the first half is on the books and yes, everyone wants to be better. No needs to be better in the second half if this season is going to be a magical one like the holidays season that is upon us. Hope all your Christmas wishes come true and looking forward to a great second half.