Despite injuries and inexperience, De La Salle hockey nearly reached quarters
March 14, 2012
Steps were taken.
There are plenty more than remain, but the rebuilding has begun, and the new foundation is certainly in place.
That’s the message Warren De La Salle hockey coach Dan Barry had following his team’s exit from the Division 2 playoffs.
In fact, had the Pilots not run into one of the best teams in the state, he felt like his guys would have had as good a chance as any to be part of the final four at Compuware.
As it is, though, the Pilots saw their 2011-12 season come to an end in a 5-1 regional final loss to Birmingham Brother Rice, and Barry was more than ready to brag about his kids and their season.
“Very encouraged and very proud of what the guys did this year,” Barry said. “With the injuries and the inexperience we had, it’s like there was a new lineup out there every single night. But we still did a lot of great things.”
One year after winning a Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League title, the Pilots finished 10-15-0. A laundry list of injuries hampered the team early on, but as the roster got healthier, the play got better.
“This was probably the toughest schedule we have ever played, and to be near .500 most of the year says a lot about what these kids did,” Barry said. “Once we got all our players back, we were a different hockey team. … We’re not going to celebrate a 10-15 season, and sure, we’d like it to be much better, but these guys did a lot of good this year. You can’t take that away from them.”
As for the continued rebuilding next year, Barry said expectations have to go up, despite the fact only six players could return.
“I think we can come back even stronger,” he said. “We’ve got some talent coming back, and I think the level of play of our junior varsity program is so tough — these guys come to varsity already battle tested. We’re going to be strong next year, there’s no doubt about it.”