Shooting Stars: Boys varsity hockey skates through adversity

Senior+Michael+Prazak+prepares+to+skate+past+the+blueline+in+hot+pursuit+of+a+breakaway.

Tyler Llaneta

Senior Michael Prazak prepares to skate past the blueline in hot pursuit of a breakaway.

Claire Valenti, Sports Editor

With a record of eight wins and 18 losses, the DuPage Stars have admittedly had a rough start to their season. Although their efforts don’t always result in wins, players and coaches alike agree that there are still many positive aspects of the games.

Coach Jon Woodring has been with the Stars for the past two years. With different types of players on the team and many games still left, he is looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out.

“We’re struggling a little bit now, but the upside is very good,” Woodring said. “We have a great group of character guys, and we just have to find our common ground here, and we’ll gel a little bit. It’s been a little bit of a slow start, but I think we’ll finish strong.”

The players are aware of the existing downsides to the games they’ve played so far, but they also know what’s going well for them. Senior and center Michael Prazak weighed the pros and cons of the first 13 games of the season.

“[Our problems are] more in our defensive zone, getting pucks out of our zone and scoring more, but [mostly] more defensively. We’re starting off a little slow… but I think we could get it together,” Prazak said.

We have a great group of character guys, and we just have to find our common ground here, and we’ll gel a little bit.”

— Jon Woodring

Another shortcoming of the season that the players can see falls on rounding out games without a change of pace. Sophomore and wing Jackson O’Hara, as well as the coaches, feel as though ending games on high notes doesn’t come as easy as they want it to.

“[We’re focusing on] hard work and finishing games because we’ve had problems finishing games whether we should win or games that should be close. We just haven’t really been able to close the games that we’ve been leading in, so that’s what [the coaches] are trying to really tell us,” O’Hara said.

Senior Alex Kalafut skates past his opponent from the Addison Trail, Fenton, Montini Catholic and Willowbrook (AFMW) Renegades.

Although there are some downfalls that the team is trying to work out, players are still able to recognize what is going well for them. Senior and defensemen Alex Kalafut finds the physicality of the team to be one of the strengths of the season.

“[We’re] definitely [strong] in our physical game, we’re really big hitters, and we always come out ready to hit,” Kalafut said. “We need to keep coming to the workouts with our trainers and just prepare ourselves.”

The DuPage Stars aren’t affiliated with one particular institution, and it consists of hockey players from five different schools. Woodring feels as though this causes a strain on how the team jives with each other and the game that they play.

“With the merging of all schools, it’s a little tough because the boys don’t have the friendship they could have with just a true [one] school [team],” Woodring said.

Their next game is at the Darien Sportsplex on Dec. 2 at 8:30 p.m. As the Stars’ season continues, the team hopes to work out the kinks in their game and push for a playoff run.