Senior leaders have Warren Mott hockey winning

By: Brad D. Bates | Warren Weekly | Published January 18, 2011

 Warren Mott senior forward Chris Kiely led the Marauders at press time with 10 goals and 23 points.

Warren Mott senior forward Chris Kiely led the Marauders at press time with 10 goals and 23 points.

Photo by Donna Agusti

The Warren Mott hockey team is enjoying the kind of season that is worth waiting for.

After winning just 15 games in the past three seasons combined, the Marauders were 9-3-0-0 overall, and 3-1-0-0 and in first place in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division.

“A couple of years ago, we looked at this group of seniors and felt like they could really give us a push,” coach Chris Kiely said. “And for the first time in three years, we have a group of guys that really enjoy their time together.”

The bonds that the nine seniors on Mott’s 2010-11 roster have built in seasons past have made them all the more formidable on the ice.

“The guys talk to each other on the bench and discuss what’s going on in the game a lot more,” Kiely said. “And when guys struggle, they really come together to pick each other up.”

The Marauders’ wait as they grew together was tough, but Kiely is glad his players stuck with the program.

“The past was because the team was always young,” Kiely said. “We have seniors now that were starting when they were freshmen and sophomores, and you really can’t compete with 18-year-old men when you’re that young.”

The seniors have scored 46 of the team’s 53 goals, with forward Chris Kiely leading the team with 10 goals and 23 points, followed by forward Adam Merrifield’s nine goals and 21 points.

“I’ve got one line that’s really doing most of the damage,” the coach said. “They’re tenacious, fast and quick, and they know when to shoot the puck and when to pass it.”

One place that the Marauders don’t have the benefit of senior leadership is in goal.

“We have two freshman goalies, and it really depends on how they handle that game that night,” Kiely said of what he’s seen from freshman goalies Ryan Shereda and Nick Franco.

“When we stay in our positions and watch their back, they do pretty well. But when guys start floating around and not paying attention, we struggle.”

But after putting three years into building this team, Kiely is confident his veteran players will make the most of 2010-11.

“Now we’re the big guys, and we’re the older team,” Kiely said. “And if we don’t get it done now, then we’re back at square one.”