Ice hockey team adjusts to AAA, moves forward

The+hockey+team+explains+how+their+transition+from+AA+to+AAA+has+shown+to+be+hard%2C+but+is+going+in+the+right+direction.++

Ethan Spozarski

The hockey team explains how their transition from AA to AAA has shown to be hard, but is going in the right direction.

Ethan Spozarski, Jacob Staley, and Sam Tobiczyk

The Baldwin ice hockey team has a solid 4-1-2 record, though the move to a higher division this season led to a bit of a rocky transition early on for the Fighting Highlanders.

After winning states last year, the team made the jump from AA to AAA this year. That has led to a substantial difference in the way they play and the mindset they have going into games.

“It is a huge difference from AA to AAA,” senior Carson Kress said. “The competition and speed of the game is a lot better and faster.”

The team was accustomed to going into games with an idea of how the other teams tend to play, but now every game against a new AAA opponent is a mystery.

“It’s a little nerve-racking going into games not knowing what might happen during them,” Kress said. “We’ve never played these teams before, so it’s hard to game plan for them,” he said.

Kress also said it is clear that the Highlanders can never take anyone lightly. 

“Every game is going to be close this year,” Kress said. “Anyone can beat anyone. It just comes down to who comes to play and who wants it more.”

Every game is going to be close this year”

— Carson Kress

Senior alternate captain Dom Trimbur agreed. 

“Now that we are in AAA, there are no teams that we can take a game off against,” Trimbur said. “In AA, if we had a bad game against the worst team, we still could have won.”

Another factor is that going into this year, the team lost a couple of important seniors from last season. That has made them rely on newer players to step up and fill the gaps the graduates left behind.

“Losing seniors from last year caused a struggle to start the year,” Kress said. “The younger kids are already getting used to the varsity speed, which is really helping,” he said.

Trimbur said despite the loss of last year’s seniors, this year’s team has the same goals. 

“The seniors last season played a big role in our winning of states, so it’s definitely a loss,” he said. “But the seniors we have now are stepping up and taking their roles.” 

With the challenges clear, the team continues to push forward.

“We haven’t really changed much from last year. What we did last year worked for us and it is continuing to work. We just have to work harder,” senior goalie Eddie Nowicki said.

After starting 1-1-2, the Highlanders have now won their last three games in a row.

“The adjustment has had its ups and downs for us this year, but I feel like we are far enough into the season where we are fully adjusted at this point,” Nowicki said.

As the hockey team heads into its next game on Nov. 29, they’ll look to continue to trend upward and earn victories, just like they have in the past.