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Young but experienced, Prep hockey team looking to improve on last season

By: Mike Moore | Rochester Post | Published December 1, 2015

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PONTIAC — It was a young team a year ago — very young, in fact.

And when asked about his 2015-16 squad, coach Aaron Crouse said, “We’re young, very young.”

So, not much has changed with the Pontiac Notre Dame Prep hockey team, even if the guys have taken some great strides from last winter until now.

“Guys are a year older; they have that year of experience now,” said Crouse, who is in his second year with the program. “They are more comfortable in the system. It’s really an interesting group in the sense we are still young, but we’re also pretty experienced.”

The Fighting Irish finished last year 11-13-1, but brought back 13 players from that squad.

The current roster has just one senior — forward James Damman — six juniors, seven sophomores and six freshmen.

“And despite that youth, we expect to improve on what we were able to do last year,” Crouse said simply. “We’re much deeper.”

The team’s two leading scorers from last year’s squad are also back.

Ryan Genord had 44 goals as a sophomore and has scored five in five games this season.

Danny Caton scored 14 as a sophomore and already has three this year.

Prep was 3-2-0 at press time.

“The advantage of having these guys as we do now is they really get to grow up together,” Crouse said. After bringing back 13 varsity vets this year, he could do likewise with up to 19 next season. “There are some struggles when you have a younger group, but over the long run, to play together and grow up together and have that chemistry, it’s a great positive for the program.”

The future is bright, but there’s plenty to aim for this winter as well.

Crouse said he expects to contend for a title in the Catholic League, and when it comes to the playoffs, well, it’s about time to get a win, he added.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve won a playoff game,” Crouse said. Prep’s last postseason victory was in 2010, though the team hasn’t had the luxury of a lucky draw the past few seasons while being placed in the Cranbrook regional.

“We’re hosting a pre-regional this year,” Crouse continued. “These guys want to make a playoff run.”

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