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Young Shores Unified hockey team hopes to improve

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 12, 2016

 St. Clair Shores Unified captain Austin Zeiter skates at a Nov. 30 practice. The Lakers have a young roster this winter. Of the 15 players, only three are seniors and nine are either freshmen or sophomores.

St. Clair Shores Unified captain Austin Zeiter skates at a Nov. 30 practice. The Lakers have a young roster this winter. Of the 15 players, only three are seniors and nine are either freshmen or sophomores.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores Unified hockey captain Austin Zeiter knows his team is young and inexperienced, and he’s doing all he can to keep morale high.

“We’ve had our struggles early on, so it’s been important that I talk to all the guys to make sure they keep their heads up and keep fighting,” the junior said. “They just have to have the mentality that we’ll get better as the season goes along.”

At press time, the Lakers sat at 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division. The team dropped its first four games by a combined score of 27-2. Unified picked up its first win of the season and saw its offense get going in a 7-6 Dec. 3 victory against Utica High.

Zeiter said he could see a change in the group.

“It was almost like a light went off in everybody’s heads,” he said. “We played some tough teams early on and had some losses, but seeing that kind of competition can only help us.”

This edition of the Lakers has youth everywhere. The roster comprises 15 players — 13 position players and two goalkeepers. There are three freshmen and six sophomores on the roster, along with three juniors and three seniors. 

Coach Keith Knight said the team will have its share of growing pains this winter.

“Along with the youth, we just don’t have the physicality that other teams have,” said Knight, whose team went 8-16-1 last season. “And we just don’t have the guys with the skating experience. It hurts when we’re trying to stop a rush and a guy is skating backward and he doesn’t know to stop to prevent a guy from getting a clearer shot at the net.”

Knight sees some promise in his team, though. 

The coach said he has some solid goal scorers on the team who have a knack for finding the net. And even though the team is young, some newbies have shown solid leadership skills. Freshmen Robbie Shock and Jacob Heabeart, along with Zeiter, are the leaders of the team, according to Knight.

“We’ll get better,” Knight said. “The more in-game experience we get, the more they’re able to see different things on the ice — all of that will help them.”

“Yeah, we’re young. But we (want to) win just like everybody else,” Zeiter said. “We’ve just got to learn to always play with confidence and fight every game.”

The Lakers’ next game is against Anchor Bay High at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 14 on the road.

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