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St. Clair Shores

Solid year, expectations will rise

DiCristofaro won’t let tough end take away from otherwise good season

March 7, 2012

» click to enlarge «
Shores junior Cody Macphee moves the puck up the ice during a game late in the season against Dakota. The Lakers dropped their opening game of the 2012 playoffs and finished the year 14-7-4.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Days after it had ended, Russ DiCristofaro was still trying to figure it out.

For all he knows, he may be in the same predicament two months from now, an answer still eluding him.

But even as he tried to wrap his mind around an 8-0 loss in a Division 1 pre-regional against Grosse Pointe North, the St. Clair Shores Unified hockey coach wasn’t about to let one game define an entire season.

“Not bad, not bad at all,” he said of the year the Lakers had, his first as head coach. “It was a very respectable season, real solid.”

Asked about the Feb. 27 loss, DiCristofaro chuckled.

“I really have no idea what happened,” he said. “They got three quick goals, and it was like we were deflated after that. This is a relatively young team, and maybe that had something to do with it. Still, this was a good year for our guys and our program.”

The Lakers ended play 14-7-4 overall and 6-1-3 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division, just two points out of first place.

The youth DiCristofaro spoke of was highlighted in the fact that the team had more sophomores (nine) than it did seniors (eight). As many as 13 players could return to the team next year, and DiCristofaro will enter his sophomore season as a head coach — all of which he hopes leads to a sort of learning curve.

“The guys that come back will be more mature, and I learned how different it is being a head coach compared to an assistant,” he said. “Things will be much smoother next year.”

DiCristofaro also said expectations will be different.

“It has to go up,” he added. “If you don’t think that, you can’t be in this game very long. This was a great group of guys, and we had a lot of fun. But from one year to the next, you have to hope to get better. That’s our plan for next year.”



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