Hun School Proving a Good Fit for Justin LaPlante

When Justin LaPlante first stepped on the ice for The Hun School this season he was uncertain about where and how he’d fit in.

“When the first practice (was held) I was wondering,” he said. “I was in doubt, But I figured my role would be pretty big from the start. I took that role and now I’m one of the leaders of the team. I really like that role.”

A junior at Hun School, LaPlante has played in all 20 of the Raiders’ games this season, scoring 15 goals and adding 19 assists.

His coach, Ian McNally, cites his blend of abilities.

“I think Justin is a rare combination of skill, speed and strength,” McNally said. “Whenever he takes off, someone on the bench is inevitably going to yell out “See ya” because he just flies by people, whether he has the puck on his stick already or he’s racing someone to a loose one.  

“He exudes power; he can skate, he can shoot and he can hit.  He made an immediate impact with us this year because he’s just a great kid. He’s mature and personable and he wants to win. We’re lucky to have him.”

Justin LaPlante (photo: Tamara Gillon Photography)

LaPlante’s arrival at Hun School this past fall was something of a matter of happenstance. A native of Quebec City, where he played football as well as hockey, LaPlante was dealing with an injury when first crossed paths with McNally.

“I had broken my wrist playing football two months prior to meeting Coach McNally,” LaPlante recalled. “I was supposed to be out for another due to my wrist. But I decided to play in a Montreal showcase. I talked to (McNally) and he watched me play and the rest is history.”

LaPlante played football for the Raiders and found himself having to adjust to U.S. rules after learning the game in Canada.

“It was a really big step,” he said. “The Hun football program is simply incredible. I had my role here and I was playing on the special units a lot. I made some big plays throughout the year and it was really fun. I really enjoyed my time playing football.”

For all the adjustments LaPlante has made on the ice and on the football field, his greatest challenges have some in the classroom.

“It’s been a challenge for sure,” he said, “because English is not my first language and English classes here are pretty hard, so I would say that’s my biggest academic challenge. But otherwise, I’ve always been really good in school and I’ve never really struggled with anything, so I’m doing all right.”

While English is not LaPlante’s first language, no one engaging in conversation with him would realize it.

“I adapted to it really well,” he said. “When I speak to my family in English, they tell me that I’ve really improved, that I’ve adapted myself really well.

“I would say the people that spoke just French in my family was the older generation because they never really got English classes, but for the new generation, we got really good English teachers and classes so it’s been easier for me to learn that way.

“Listening to hockey and football in English, and watching the TV too has been really helpful so I think I’ve adapted really well since being here.”

McNally says playing football helped ease LaPlante’s transition to a new setting.

“He fit in seamlessly,” McNally said. “I think by playing football in the fall he was able to come to pre-season before school actually started, move into the dorms early and make friends right away with teammates.

“Hockey is maybe what led him to look at boarding schools, the experience of being away is the real takeaway and I think and so he’s jumped right in. Hun has kids from all over the world, so most of them are initially adapting. It makes it easier when they are all in the same boat.”

Even with the adjustments he’s had to make, in the classroom and as an athlete, LaPlante’s time at The Hun School has been enjoyable and satisfying.

“Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is life on the border here is pretty crazy and insane,” he said, “because on the weekends you get to do a lot of stuff that other schools can’t.

“I went to see a couple of (NCAA D-1) games, either football or basketball and I’m going to watch an NHL game in a few weeks. Those are experiences that I’ve never had in my life.

 “As far as hockey goes, I would say that I’ve never been that much of an offensive guy or the star of a team so it feels good to experience that this year and being one of the best players on my team and being able to be a leader.”

Hockey-wise, it’s been an up-and-down season for the Raiders as they approach their APAC regular-season with Malvern Prep on Wednesday. They stand 8-12 overall and 2-5 in conference play as of February 7. But LaPlante says the team has played better than its record indicates.

“It has been up and down,” he said. “But I feel like we should have won five of those losses so it’s still a really good season for us. 

“We haven’t played really bad, it’s just that we can’t close out games. But we’ve been holding up against really good teams, so that’s hopeful for us.

La Salle 5 Hun School 2

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J.—Evan Golato scored two goals and three other players scored one goal each as La Salle bested Hun School 5-2 Wednesday afternoon in an APAC game at Ice Land.

The win moved La Salle (9-8-2, 5-2 in conference) into a tie for first place with Holy Ghost Prep in the conference standings.

The Explorers broke the game open with four unanswered goals in the second period. Ryan Desmond, Golato, Ryan Wiley, and Golato again scored goals in a span of 8 minutes, 57 seconds to give La Salle a commanding lead.

Scott Richmond scored for the Raiders (8-11, 2-4 in conference 54 seconds into the third period.

La Salle’s Grant LaGreca and Hun School’s Elian Estulin traded goals to complete the scoring.

Jake Rossi got the win in goal, stopping 40 shots. Stephen Chen made 54 saves for the Raiders in the loss.

La Salle 0 4 1—5

Hun School 0 0 2—2

Second-period goals: Ryan Desmond (L) from Evan Golato and Cam Ross, 3:11; Golato (L) from Will Gregorio and Desmond, 8:00; Ryan Wiley (L) from Tim Whittock and Julian Tarsi, 10:01; Golato (L) from Desmond and Ross, 12:08

Third-period goals: Scott Richmond (HS) from Elian Estulin, :54; Grant LeGreca from Whittock and James Carpenter, 9:33; Estulin (HS) from Justin LaPlante, 11:29

Shots: La Salle 59, Hun School 42; Saves:  Jake Rossi (L) 40, Stephen Chen (HS) 54

Holy Ghost Prep 6 Hun School 4

BRISTOL—Experience paid off for Holy Ghost Prep Friday afternoon. Midway through the third period, the Firebirds found itself backed into a corner, down by a goal and facing a two-man disadvantage for a full two minutes.

But they weathered the storm, killing off the twin penalties before goals from Kieran Mulholland and Shaun Moore propelled them to a 6-4 win over The Hun School at Grundy Arena.

The win lifted the Firebirds into first place in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference with a 3-0-0-1 conference mark (8-2 overall). The Raiders dropped to 4-6 overall (1-3 in conference).

The Firebirds controlled play for most of the afternoon but after two periods had little to show for it; they held a 26-8 advantage in shots but thanks to Stephen Chen’s work in the Hun School net the teams were deadlocked at 2-2.

“The mindset was just overcoming adversity,” Moore said. “It was a tie game (but we thought we should have been up early in the game. We thought we needed to pick it up big time going into the third period.”

Brandon Barger gave the hosts the lead with a power-play goal 1:51 into the final session but Ryan Levesque answered for Hun School just 57 seconds later.

The key point in the period and the game came with 8:56 remaining in regulation and Hun School holding a 4-3 lead. In an instant, the Firebirds found themselves two men short. Barger was called for roughing while at the same time Patrick Slook was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Raiders an extended five-on-three power play.

But that disappeared when Scott Richmond was called for tripping with 7:27 left in regulation and the Firebirds were able to weather the remainder of the sequence. Twenty-two seconds after the twin penalties expired, Mulholland scored the tying goal. Moore delivered the game winner with 3:24 remaining. Afterward, he credited his teammates for how they dealt with adversity.

“That’s huge,” Moore said. That’s getting our guys ready for that big moment.”

Hun School coach Ian McNally viewed the sequence as the key to the game.

“We had a five-on-three for a minute and a half,” he said, “and all of a sudden, when we take a penalty and we’re shorthanded, all the guys you want out there are tired. It was pretty tough to make it through the last 10 minutes.”

The Raiders were without forwards Elain Estulin and Brendan Marino, forcing several players to play out of position.

“Unfortunately guys were in positions that they don’t normally find themselves,” McNally said. “(Holy Ghost Prep) moved the puck around very well, they find the open guy, and that definitely hurt us. We could have used a coupled more legs.”

Holy Ghost Prep’s John Seravalli assisted on three of his team’s goals, including the game winner. He noted his teammates’ efforts to solve Chen eventually paid off with the four third-period goals.

“We had to get pucks low,” he said. “Try to test him, go side to side. And luckily, we got a quick goal from (Barger). It was difficult, a little bit, but we got to him.”

Ice Chips—Chen still made 32 saves; the Firebirds enjoyed a 38-13 shot advantage. Seravalli’s father John filled in for Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside who missed the game due to illness.

Hun School 1 1 2—4

Holy Ghost Prep 1 1 4—6

First-period goals: Logan Stoudt (HGP) from Brady Baehser, 9:19 (sh); Scott Richmond (HS) from Vincent Gregoire and Ryan Levesque, 14:07 (pp)

Second-period goals: Shaun Moore (HGP) from John Seravalli and Stout, :47 (pp); Josh Sosner (HS) from Levesque, 2:04

Third-period goals: Brandon Barger (HGP) from Patrick Slook, 1:51 (pp); Levesque (HS) from Justin Laplante and Mark Gall, 2:48; Levesque (HS) from Laplante and Richmond, 5:32 (pp); Kieran Mulholland (HGP) from Stout and Seravalli, 10:26 (pp); Moore (HGP) from Seravalli and Baehser, 13:36 (pp); Slook (HGP) unassisted, 16:02 (en)

Shots: Hun School 13, Holy Ghost Prep 38; Saves: Stephen Chen (HS) 32, Colin Mudrick (HGP) 9

For more about The Hun School CLICK HERE

For More about Holy Ghost Prep CLICK HERE

La Salle 3 Hun School 1

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—There wasn’t a lot of artistry on display when Hun School and La Salle took the ice Wednesday afternoon. Instead, the Raiders and the Explorers engaged, in a gritty, grind-it-out encounter before La Salle emerged with a 3-1 win at Hatfield Ice Arena.

The win extended the Explorers’ unbeaten streak to four games and lifted them to 4-3-1 overall (3-1 in the APAC).

The Raiders, who were missing several players due to illness, dropped to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in conference.

“It wasn’t a pretty game for either side,” said La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner. “We were just happy to get through it on top.”

Three of the game’s four goals came in the first period. Justin Laplante gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at the 2:51 mark; Ryan Desmond answered for the Explorers at 10:19. Dean Carvalho put his team in front for good when he deposited a rebound of Cam Ross’s shot behind Raider goaltender Julian Arsenault just before the period-ending buzzer.

For most of the rest of the last two periods the teams battled failed to find the net. Muelbronner juggled his lineup in a bid to generate more offense.

“We were mixing things around quite a bit,” he said, “trying different guys in different spots. Nothing seemed to really click.”

Hun School coach Ian McNally had to do some juggling of his own, albeit for different reasons.

“Unfortunately we had four guys out,” he said. “That’s not an excuse for why we lost but it just created enough of a disturbance in lines and power plays and everything.

“We did have to come up with a different game plan. The goal was to be within five minutes with a chance to win because some of the guys who weren’t able to play were the guys who score goals for us. We knew we wouldn’t be scoring five goals, but we knew if there was five minutes left and we were within one or up one or tied, that was the goal.”

Hun School received a power-play chance with 5:45 left in regulation when La Salle’s Chase Hannon was booked for a hooking in fraction but Explorer goaltender Aries Caranagi stood tall, he went on to finish the game with 20 saves. His best effort with just under eight minutes left in regulation when he turn aside a blast from the Raiders’ Scott Richmond.

“When we make mistakes, we know he has our backs,: Desmond said. “To build us back up. And save us when we need him.”

It was wasn’t a stylish performance, but the Explorers got the result they wanted.

“We pulled it together toward the end and came out with the victory,” Desmond said. “That’s all that matters.”

Ice Chips—Julian Arsenault made 34 saves in the Hun School net. The Raiders will face Holy Ghost Prep on Friday before pausing for the holidays while La Salle will travel to the Mount St. Charles tournament in Rhode Island after Christmas. It marks the first time the tournament will be held in three years because of Covid.

Hun School 1 0 0—1

La Salle 2 0 1—3

First period goals: Justin Laplante (HS) unassisted, 2:51; Ryan Desmomd (L) from Chase Hannon, 10:19; Dean Carvalho (L) from Cam Ross and James Carpenter 17:00

Third-period goal: Hannon (L) from Desmond and Evan Golato, 15:29

Shots: Hun School 21, La Salle 37; Saves: Julian Arsenault (HS) 34, Aries Carangi (L) 20

Holy Ghost Prep 9 The Hun School 4

Hamilton Township, N.J.— It is often said that the postseason marks a new beginning. So it was for Holy Ghost Prep Monday afternoon. The Firebirds produced their best offensive output of the season over the course of a 9-4 win over The Hun School in the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference play-in game at Iceland in front of an audience that included as substantial number of Holy Ghost Prep supporters.

Brady Baehser scored three goals and assisted on two others for fifth-seeded Holy Ghost Prep (10-10).

The Firebirds move on to face top-seeded Malvern Prep in a Founders Cup semifinal game Wednesday night at Ice Line (6:45 start). Seth Kaplan scored three goals for fourth-seeded Hun School, which finished its season at 8-9.

Wednesday’s result comes less than 72 hours after the Raiders handed the Firebirds a 2-1 loss in Friday’s regular-season finale.

But Baehser said he and his teammates have refocused of late. “Over the past two weeks, after the losing streak, we kind of regrouped,” he said. “Our coaches gave us a new plan for practice. I think Friday we came out and played well, we just couldn’t score. Today, we just found the back of the net a lot more.”

Six different Firebirds scored goals on Wednesday, a total of 12 were listed on the scoresheet.

“It was nice to see Point Night for the Firebirds finally,” said Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside. “It was a great effort. We never gave up on our guys. It’s attribute to them, the way they played three solid periods.”

Baesher scored one goal and assisted Dominic Lombardo’s effort as Holy Ghost Prep took a 2-1 first-period lead.

Perhaps the biggest surprised of the afternoon came after Sean Marshall scored the first of his two goals 7:41 into the second frame. At that point, Hun School coach Ian McNally made a goaltender change, inserting Stephen Chen in place of starter Jack Borek who surrendered three goals on 10 shots

Riley Frost scored for the Raiders at the 10:04 mark to make it a one-goal game but the Firebirds responded with three unanswered goals to take a 6-2 lead 2:24 into the third period and were more or less in control thereafter.

Borek returned to the net for the start of the third period after Chen allowed two goals on 11 shots.

“Once we’d score, we  were never able to build on it,” McNally said. “They’d score seconds later and you could never keep any momentum going.”

While Monday brought the Hun School season to an end, it was a season that saw the Raider hockey program get back on track; the 2020-21 season was limited to three games because of Covid issues. This season, Hun School participated in the APAC for the first time, which assured the Raiders of a postseason to point toward.

“I think it’s been great,” McNally said. “We don’t have a state tournament because there aren’t enough teams of like size or teams that want to participate. 

“This kind of gives us a taste of what it can be like to finish our season with games that mean something and the potential to host games, so we’re very happy.”

Holy Ghost Prep 2 3 4—9

Hun School 1 1 2—4

First-period goals: Seth Kaplan (SH) from Elian Estolin and Christian Clover, 11:13; Brady Baehser (HGP) from Landon Stout, 11:40; Dominic Lombardo (HGP) from Baehser 13:27 (pp)

Second-period goals: Sean Marshall (HGP) from Brian Butler, 7:41; Riley Frost (HS) from Josh Oullette, 10:04; Baehser (HGP) from Shaun Moore, 12:31; Kieran Mulholland (HGP) from Baehser 14:59 (pp)

Third-period goals: Baehser (HGP) from Landon Stout, 2:24; Kaplan (HS) unassisted, 6:59; Marshall (HGP) from John Seravalli and Colin Moore, (pp); Shaun Moore (HGP) from Mulholland, 9:46; Kaplan (HS)  from Estulin and Frost, 11:55 (pp) Logan Barnes (HGP) from Brandon Barger and Michael Holt , 15:37                                                                

Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 33, Hun School 32; Saves: Jason Soule (HGP) 28, Jack Borek (HS) 15 and Stephen Chen (HS) 9

For more information about The Hun School CLICK HERE

For more about Holy Ghost Prep CLICK HERE

Malvern Prep 4 The Hun School 1

Matt Harris scored two goals to lead Malvern Prep to a 4-1 win over The Hun School Wednesday afternoon at Iceland. The win officially clinched the APAC regular-championship for the Friars (12-3 overall, 5-1-2-0 in conference).

Jimmy Jacobs and Jeremy Jacobs also scored goals for Malvern Prep, which will be the top seed for next week’ Founders Cup playoffs and is favored to be the top seed for the upcoming Class AAA Flyers Cup tournament.

Brendan Marino scored for Hun School which dropped to 7-8 overall and 2-4-1 in conference.

Harris scored the only goal of the first period, a shorthanded effort at the 6:26 mark. He added his second goal 27 seconds into the second period to give his team a 2-0 lead before Marino cut the lead in half at the 6:26 mark

Jimmy Jacobs extended the Malvern Prep lead with a power-play 10:26 into the third period; Jeremy Jacobs completed the scoring into an empty net.

Brandon Novabilski earned the win in goal with 30 saves.

Malvern Prep 1 1 2—4

Hun School 0 1 0—1

First-period goal: Matt Harris (MP) from Quinn Dougherty, 6:26 (sh)

Second-period goals: Harris (MP) from Jimmy Jacobs and Aidan Kelly, :27; Brendan Marino (HS) from Elian Estulin and Nick Dimatos, 6:35

Third-period goals: Jimmy Jacobs (MP) from Pierre Larocque and Dougherty, 10:26; Jeremy Jacobs (MP) from Jimmy Jacobs, 13:54 (en)

Shots: Malvern Prep 34, Hun School 31; Saves: Brandon Novabilski (MP) 30, Jack Borek (MP) 31

Stephen Chen’s Remarkable Hockey Journey

Like many high-school hockey players, Stephen Chen is looking forward to the Olympic tournament.

The U.S. men will see their first action of the Olympic Games Thursday morning against China. Game time is set for 8:10 a.m. Eastern Time but Chen, a junior goaltender at The Hun School, is hoping to follow the action in some way, shape, or form.

A native of Beijing, Chen is looking forward to seeing the Chinese national team make history. 

“It’s definitely a special feeling,” he said, “especially considering this is the first time the men’s team has ever competed in the Olympic Games. Even if the Chinese national team can’t squeak out a win, even scoring a goal would be a very special moment.”

Chen started playing hockey at the age of 5 ½. He’s been a goaltender from the start.

“When I started my coaches said ‘This kid’s pretty chubby so he can fill the net,” he recalls “but I fell in love with the position since then.

Chen emigrated to Southern California at age 10 and continued his hockey career there. When it came time for high school he sought a school on the East Coast that was strong academically and would allow him to pursue his hockey ambitions. He applied to a number of schools before being accepted at and enrolling at The Hun School (An older brother is a college graduate and living in California).

Chen has returned to China twice in the years since, most recently in the summer of 2019 to tend goal for a team that represented Beijing and won the 18-and-under division of the Chinese national championship tournament.

“Representing my hometown, it was a special feeling,” he said, “because you’re playing a sport you love, but also getting to represent the people you grew up with in your city and all the ideals your city represents and what you believe your city represents as well. 

“Playing for that was a special feeling and being able to win the tournament at the end was beyond amazing.”

Chen, who is 16, notes that hockey has grown in popularity in his homeland during his lifetime.

“Obviously, it cannot be compared to the very developed systems and teams and whatnot in North America,” he said. “But, I think it’s a definitely growing market. There’s a lot talented young kids that are just getting to the game of hockey in China.

“Although hockey is a very old game I would have to say that I am one of the earlier generations of hockey players in China recent years.

“It’s definitely a developing market. It’s not as complete as other countries but I think there is already a certain skill level there.”

Chen notes that Beijing is home to the Kunlun Red Star, which competes in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), although the team relocated to Russia to ease travel in preparation for the Olympics.  Red Star players makes up the bulk of the Chinese Olympic roster, which included three Americans and 10 Canadians.

Besides watching the Olympic tournament as a fan, Chen will be watching each team’s goaltenders and hoping to pick up traits to add to his own game.

“I definitely watch out for some technical details that goaltenders really focus on and normal people wouldn’t,” he said. “The depth a goaltender takes when it’s a two on one or two on two, odd man rushes, those kind of small things are what I notice. 

 “But, other than that, I definitely still enjoy the game just from the average fan’s viewpoint.”

Unsurprisingly Chen would like to represent his homeland in international completion one day. 

“I think it’s every kid’s dream to represent their country,” he said, “and I’m no exception. It’s a wish to represent the country at the highest level someday in the future.

“I’m already part of the U-20 China national team, so that’s a pretty good start for me already but yeah I definitely look forward to one day wearing that sweater and playing for all the people I love back home.”

Hun School 2 La Salle 1

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J.—The momentum of a hockey game can change in the blink of an eye. So it was at Iceland Tuesday afternoon. Elian Estulin and Seth Kaplan scored third-period goals to propel The Hun School past La Salle 2-1 in a tightly contested Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference matchup.

The win lifted the Raiders (7-6 overall) to 2-2-0-1 in APAC play. 
The Explorers fell to 6-7 overall and 3-3-0-1 in conference.
La Salle’s Keenan Schneider scored the afternoon’s first goal on a forehander from the low slot with 4:25 left in the second period.

Keenan Schneider scores the games first goal (Erin Schneider)

That was all the two teams could manage through the first two period against a pair of hot goaltenders, the Explorers’ Aries Carangi and the Raiders’ Stephen Chen, although the Raiders had a goal disallowed early in the period because, according to Hun School coach Ian McNally, the whistle blew before the puck crossed the goal line.

Early in the third fame however, the flow of the game shifted rather abruptly in Hun School’s direction. The sequence began at the 4:38 mark when La Salle’s Ryan Warner was flagged for slashing. Just 17 seconds later, Max Maddalo was sent off for cross checking, giving the Raiders an extended two-man advantage. Estulin tied the game at the 5:12 mark with a shot from the right side of the slot.

The Raiders had the momentum from that moment forward. Seth Kaplan scored the winning goal on a partial breakaway with 3:37 remaining in regulation.

“(The coaches) trust in our power-play unit,” Estulin said. “I was on the right side and got a five-hole goal We celebrated, then we got back out and got one.”

Seth Kaplan scores the winning goal

La Salle coach Wally Muehlbronner cited the back-to-back penalties as the key point in the game.

“We talked going into the third about being smart and staying out of the box,” he said. “We took a couple penalties, it was unfortunate. I thought we played well.

“A couple of the guys that were in the box were guys that normally kill for us as well.”

Muehlbronner was quick to credit the Raiders for their effort.

“I thought Hun played well,” he said. “They’re a tough team to play against. They’re and they had some good opportunities.”

McNally noted there was sniping in the Raider locker room while the ice was being resurfaced before the third period but was glad his players maintained their composure.

“No one could get over the non-call goal he said. “I was worried we weren’t going to be able to regroup. And we did.”

The win keeps the Raiders mathematically alive in the quest for the APAC regular-season title. They can finish in first place alone if they win their three remaining conference games in regulation. Estulin however says he and his teammates are taking things one step at a time and not worrying about what the standings look like.

“We’re just going to play our game,” he said. “We’re not going to worry about who is 5-0 or who is 3-2. We’re just going to play our game.”

Tempers flared at the close of regulation when the teams scuffled  behind the Hun School net. Maddalo, his teammate Chase Hannon, and Hun School’s Nick Dimatos and Mark Gall were accessed a total of 50 minutes in penalties.

La Salle 0 1 0—1

Hun School 0 0 2—2

Second-period goal: Keenan Schneider (L) from Tim Whittock and Chase Hannon, 12:25

Third-period goals: Elian Estulin (HS) from Riley Frost and Nick Dimatos, 5:18; Seth Kaplan (HS) from Dimatos and Frost, 13:23

Shots La Salle 39, Hun School 30; Saves: Aries Carangi (L) 28, Stephen Chen (HS) 38

For more information about La Salle College High School CLICK HERE

For more information about The Hun School CLICK HERE

APAC Sets Playoff Dates

The Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference has set the dates for the Founders Cup playoffs.

The postseason will begin on Monday, February 14 with the fourth-place regular season finisher hosting the fifth-place team.

The winner will advance to the semifinals, which will be staged as a doubleheader at Ice Line on Wednesday, February 16. The championship game will be played on either Wednesday, February 23 or Thursday, December 24 and will be hosted by the highest seeded finalist.

Because of when they are scheduled, the results of the Founders Cup playoffs will factor into the seedings for the Flyers Cup tournament which will be announced on Sunday, February 27.

The complete Founders Cup playoff schedule is as follows: 
1st Round – Feb 14th: 4 x 5 play in, Site TBD (Highest Seed)

Semifinals – Feb 16th @ Iceline: 6:45pm & 8:45pm

Championship: Feb 23rd/24th (TBD), hosted by higher seed

The Founders Cup playoffs will mark the conclusion of the APAC’s fourth season. La Salle claimed the first two league titles in 2019 and ’20. Last year’s playoffs were not concluded because of Covid issues.

Riley Frost’s Journey to The Hun School

Riley Frost is a long way from home; some 3,000 miles. The Carlsbad, Calif. native arrived at The Hun School two-and-a-half years ago. Now, he’s a senior and the Raiders’ captain. His passion for hockey runs deep.

“Hockey is kind of in my family,” he said. “Both my dad and my grandpa played hockey and my mom plays ringette (a sport for females that is played on ice and in some aspects, resembles ice hockey). So, it was kind of in my blood.”

One might not think of Southern California as a hockey hotbed but the Los Angeles Blades skated in the Western Hockey League immediately prior to the creation of the Los Angeles Kings when the National Hockey League expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967.
San Diego’s hockey history dates back to the 1960s and the present-day San Diego Gulls skate in the American Hockey League.

Following his freshman year of high school however, Frost, who is 17, decided to take another step in his hockey career.

“I realized that I kind of wanted to go further with it,” he said, “and decided to come out to the East Coast. Hun was a great fit for me so I decided to come here.”

Frost says his coach, Ian McNally, significantly influenced his decision to enroll at the school.

“Kind of off that first meeting my family and I kind of really trusted him,” he recalls, “and we really fell in love with the school after that.”

As a boarding student, Frost’s days are full.

“Normally I wake up for classes around 8:00 and start the day off,” he said. And then throughout the day I’ll have a few free periods. That’s really when I get a lot of work done and get in as much schoolwork as I can.

“And then after that, hockey (the team practices daily), then usually after hockey come back, have a little down time, and then study hall starts.”

Boarding students at the school have a mandatory two-hour study hall five nights a week, Sunday through Thursday.

“It’s really great,” Frost said, “because you have a set time every night where everyone is doing work. If you have a buddy in a class, you can go work on a project or whatever together.

Sometimes there are teachers out and about. If you have any questions you can go talk to them. it’s been very nice to have that kind of study hall. When those two hours come down, everyone knows it’s time to dial it in, it’s time to work.”

Frost note that work ethic carries over into the ice. The Raiders navigate a demanding schedule against Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference and Mid-Atlantic Hockey League opposition.

“I kind of like our schedule this year,” Frost said. “It’s definitely gotten more competitive over the years.’

The Raiders stand at 5-5 overall and 1-2-1-0 in the APAC through January 19; they haven’t played a game since December 15 because of Covid issues that have impacted several scheduled opponents.

Frost has scored three goals in nine game and added six assists. McNally cites his contributions to the Hun School hockey program over the course of his career.

“Riley has been a great addition to our team and school since his arrival in 10th grade,” McNally said. “He was a natural selection to wear a “C” this year as he is a glue guy all over campus, in the room and on the bus, in the dorms and in the classroom, and of course with his play on the ice.  He is getting the opportunity to put up points this year and is deserving of any accolades that come his way.”

Riley Frost

This is Hun School’s first season in the APAC. Frost has been impressed with the competitive balance among the five conference schools.

“Balance is a good word,” he said. We’re obviously all very competitive people and every game we’re going to come out and we’re going to play our hearts out and that’s really going to be what leads us to hopefully our end goal this season.”

Frost notes how much he, his teammates, and the student-athletes throughout the conference respect the game and respect each other on the ice.

“I think we all recognize that we’re all high-level athletes,” he said, “and obviously, we would like to go as far as we can in our careers and so that level of respect that all the teams have for each other is pretty crucial to our league.”

In the wake of the layoff, Frost says he and his teammates are gathering themselves for what in effect will be a sprint to the end of the season

“Definitely,” he said. “Trying to dial in all our systems and truly getting that team chemistry going again is going to be essential for us.”

In addition to playing hockey, Frost also plays lacrosse; he’s an attackman and midfielder. He stresses the importance creating a system to manage his time effectively.

“Once you find something that works for you, it really becomes quite simple,” he said. “You have your practice time, you have a little bit of down time and then it’s your schoolwork, getting everything done, making sure you have a good night’s sleep and you’re ready for the next day. I think once you find what works, that’s really important.”

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