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November 27, 2012

Unified effort has Shrine hockey battling opponents, not fatigue

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Unified effort has Shrine hockey battling opponents, not fatigue
Shrine’s Chris Bradley moves the puck upice while teammate Zack Kednik trails behind. Shrine has 22 players on its roster, which is up from 12 in 2011-12.

ROYAL OAK — In the past, this likely would have been one of those games that slipped through their hands.

This type of game would remain close only for a certain amount of time before fatigue and frustration took over.

As recently as last year, the Royal Oak Shrine hockey team’s Nov. 16 battle with Royal Oak High probably would have ended with a loss.

Not anymore.

“You never know exactly how things would have or could have gone, but there’s a good chance that’s a game we lose last year,” senior captain Dan Tresnak said of what turned out to be a 5-1 victory. “In the past, we didn’t have the bodies to hang with a team like that in a close game. We’d eventually wear down.”

In a sport like hockey, having a roster of 12 players simply isn’t sustainable, but it’s the reality Shrine was forced to face being a smaller, private school.

Prior to the 2012-13 season, though, Clarkston Everest Collegiate and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes players joined Shrine to form one team of Knights.

The results are expected to show all winter.

“Without doing it, we’d have the same numbers of guys like we have the past few years, which is way too few,” coach AJ Plaskey said. “We can field a team like that, but not one that will be consistently competitive. … What we’ve done here is working out well. We have three lines and five defensemen, and a roster that I think is going to shape into a pretty good hockey team.”

The Knights have 22 guys on the active roster, six total from Everest and Our Lady of the Lakes, which has been an obviously benefit come game time, but also in practice.

“That’s the thing I look forward to the most,” Plaskey said. “The competition in practice is the main thing for us, and that was impossible in the past with 12 guys.”

“You get through drills quicker and with a better flow, in general,” senior captain Joe Nagle explained. “Things look good so far.”

The more documentable payoff will be in games.

The Knights were 10-14 a year ago, but Plaskey and his players couldn’t help but note a number of games that were winnable, but eventually lost due to fatigue.

“This is an above-.500 team, in my mind,” Plaskey said. “This is a group that has the potential to really make some noise. We don’t know a ton about every team on our schedule, but I know we’ll enter every game with a full lineup and the ability to compete as a full squad. That’s going to make a huge difference.”

“It’s tough to say just how good we could be after one game, but I think we are all pretty optimistic,” Tresnak said. “It’s nice to have enough guys to go out and focus on your job in a game, and have the ability to limit your shifts and put more into them. We’ll see what happens, but we feel like this could be a pretty special year.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.