Men’s hockey hopes to surprise rivals

Annie Rogula, staff reporter

The puck dropped and the crowd cheered for the GBS men’s hockey team as they skated to victory against one of their rivals GBN. Although there have been some inconsistencies throughout the season, according to senior forward Benjamin Thomas, the team is surprised with their rank of seventh in the state.

So far, the team has been more successful than they had hoped, according to senior center Thomas Lundal. Despite being a team filled with young talent, Lundal says the players are striving for the best.

“This is one of the best teams I think I’ve played on,” Lundal said. “I honestly do mean it when I say this really is the greatest group of guys that I’ve played with. Overall, we’re just a really good team. We click well, and we have an opportunity to do something great.”

Not only is playing with great teammates a memorable experience, according to Thomas, but defeating team rivals can really have an impact on the way the team is able to function. Jim Philbin, the GBS varsity head coach and hockey director for the past 28 years, provides effective gameday strategies in order to ensure the GBS hockey team a win.

“I focus on the teams we’re playing, going over game film of that team, finding their weaknesses, and taking advantage of them as well,” Philbin said. “We like to line match as much as possible during games so we can have the best advantage at winning our games.”

After analyzing many of the team’s performances throughout their season, Philbin has noticed some areas for improvement, such as playing more cohesively as a team rather than individuals. The teams has the ability to work fast and successfully which makes them a deadly competitor for rival teams, according to Philbin.

“Our strength is our skill level,” Philbin said. “We are quick with speed and when we use our skill level as a team, we are very successful.”  

Playing on the team is a thrilling experience, especially with a great coach, according to Thomas, but it doesn’t come without putting in the commitment and time that is required from each player. With practices and games practically every day, the players are really giving it all they’ve got, both mentally and physically, Thomas says.

Although all of the effort and hours put into the team can be difficult,  games against teams like GBN and New Trier offer memorable moments that easily stick with a player, regardless of whether it’s a win or loss, Thomas says.

According to Lundal, “We have so many different personalities, everyone loves to joke around, there’s never a dull moment with anybody and it’s tough because I know it could be my last year playing hockey, but I honestly would not go out any other way than with this group of guys.”

Based on Thomas’s observations, his goal for the team is set high for this season’s possible outcomes.

“We’re definitely going to finish top ten in state. I think we’re going to do well in state this year, and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of teams [this year].”