By Laura Lennie, News Staff
The head coach of the Cardinal Newman Cardinals boys hockey squad says his team could go all the way this season.
“I think we definitely have a strong team that can make a run for the (city) championship,” Anthony Macaluso said. “We are very well balanced, with four strong forward lines, a great group of defencemen and solid goaltending.”
Cardinal Newman finished the first leg of its 2013-14 season atop the standings with a 7-0-2 record, after defeating the St. Thomas More Knights 2-1 in the last game before the exam break.
The Cardinals started the second part of their season on Wednesday against the St. Mary Crusaders. Results of the game were unavailable at press deadline.
Macaluso said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the way the team’s first nine games went.
“I knew we’d have a solid team this season, but these guys have found a way to win or tie every game; they never give up and they really do work hard on every shift. We’ve been in a few games that could easily have gone the other way, but we’re happy to have come out on top and it’s because the team refuses to give in,” he said. “That being said, we know that by no means does it mean we are guaranteed anything. Any of the teams in our league can win on any day.”
Macaluso said being able to put four strong lines on the ice at all times in a game has played an important role in Cardinal Newman’s success.
“We are extremely deep and talented,” he said. “We just need to keep working hard and putting in a strong group effort every game.”
The Cardinals have skated to a city championship three times, having won the final in 1978, 1995 and 2009.
The team has never won a Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference semifinal game.
Macaluso said Cardinal Newman has a good mix of veterans and new players this season and they’re all driven to win.
“We have about half of the same players as last year, with a solid group of new guys. The blend of old and new players has really worked well for us,” he said. “The guys who have been playing the last few years are hungry to win and the new guys love being a part of the team. Together the team has really bought into themselves as a winning team and program.”
Macaluso said the Cardinals are made up of a group of athletes and coaches who love the game and love their school.
“They really believe in themselves and have bought into the notion that they can have success if they work for it and it shows in our record so far,” he said. “We just need to keep focused, keep working hard and hopefully good things will continue to come for us.”
Cardinal Newman will face off against the St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves at Inch Park on Monday.
For a full schedule, visit www.hwcdsb.ca.