L’Anse Creuse Unified hockey coach Jon Nader talks with his players during a Nov. 20 win over St. Clair Shores Unified. LC Unified has its three top scorers back from last season.

L’Anse Creuse Unified hockey coach Jon Nader talks with his players during a Nov. 20 win over St. Clair Shores Unified. LC Unified has its three top scorers back from last season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


L’Anse Creuse Unified hockey looks to stand out in 2019

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 30, 2018

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MOUNT CLEMENS — L’Anse Creuse Unified hockey coach Jon Nader said he and his players are excited about the new season, but some things must happen before expectations are raised.

“We have a lot of new faces in the program this year,” Nader said. “We need to come together as a team, and then we can have high expectations.”

At press time, Unified was 1-2-0, scoring five goals and allowing 10. The team should be able to score goals, Nader said, as it returns its top three scorers from last season — forwards Jeremy Hayes, Jack Rastigue and Reid Walleman.

Hayes leads the team early with three points — one goal and two assists. Forward Matt Cary is next with two points.

“It’s always nice to have returners who performed well in the previous season,” Nader said. “We look for a lot of competition this year as far as our leading scorer.”

Goalkeeper Josh LuMarque will get the majority of the work in net after the graduation of All-State keeper Jake VanDenBerg last year. LuMarque started eight games last season, garnering a 6-2 record with a .929 save percentage.

Nader said that experience has helped LuMarque quite a bit.

“We have full confidence in Josh and his ability to perform,” Nader said. “He’s a hardworking young man who’s dedicated to hockey, and he’ll lead the team well.”

Leading the way along with LuMarque, Nader said, will be forwards Devin Conrad and Vinnie Cipriano, defenseman Josh Konczak, Hayes and Rastigue.

Rastigue said it helps that the team has a solid returning core group of players.

“But we know it takes a team effort to win,” Rastigue said. “In order to have a better season than we did last year, we just need to find the back of the net more.”

Nader said defense will be the focus, but Unified has a roster full of fast skaters. The coach said utilizing that speed and intelligence on the ice will be key.

“Last year we were very strong defensively,” Rastigue said, “and hopefully that carries over to this season.”

Nader would like to see the team compete for a Macomb Area Conference White Division crown. Last season, Unified shared the MAC White title with Marysville High and finished at 15-8-2 overall.

Along with the division title, Rastigue wants a regional championship.

“With the talented group of guys we have this year, we definitely have the potential to do so,” he said.

Unified’s next game is against Mount Pleasant High at 5 p.m. Dec. 7 on the road.

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