Icecats have new coach and modified varsity roster

Goalie Alex Rodriguez poses after 2015 JV All-Star Game

Photo: Rick Rodriguez

Goalie Alex Rodriguez poses after 2015 JV All-Star Game

TJ Murbach, Staff Writer

At the end of last season, former Varsity Icecats head coach Sean Brown resigned from his position. Brown’s replacement is Bobby Scott, who coached the Icecats junior varsity team last season.

Scott has 40 years of experience in hockey as both a player and a coach; he played Division I college hockey at the University of Illinois-Chicago. In the coaching vacancy at the junior varsity level, Mike Szpylman will be taking over.

“[Scott’s] experience will help him put our team together in a good way to make us as successful as possible,” said senior forward Jack Glenn in an email interview.

The team is optimistic with Scott taking over the head of the program, as many of the players already know him. The players consider Scott’s personality as a “player’s coach” type, who easily relates to the players and puts the players first. This helps them bond and create better team chemistry.

“I like that he has a perfect balance of friend and coach. We have a good time and work hard all at the same time,” Glenn commented.

Scott recently released the new varsity roster, which had a few tweaks from last year. The Icecats only lost four seniors: winger Garrett Crusey and defensemen Brandon Peter, Steven Sakas and Brian Strample.

Out of the 19 players on the roster, there are seven players on the team who were not on the varsity team last season. Out of the seven, only senior Alex Rodriguez and junior Hunter Schweiger were on junior varsity last season. The others, including Schweiger’s brother Payton, are new to the Icecats program.

Junior Grayson Manchik and seniors Kyle Wooten and Kien Tran all played for varsity last season but were placed on  junior varsity in order to make room for the new varsity players after a competitive spring season and tryout session. Due to this, Manchik and Tran decided not to play for the Icecats this season; Wooten decided to stick with the team. Freshman forward Nicholas Elfering and freshman defenseman Carson Darnall will start the season on varsity.

Key returning varsity Icecat players include starting goalie Charlie Newberg, along with last year’s dominant first line consisting of three seniors, Justin Agemura, David Mattson and Justin Vieth. Each member of the dynamic trio placed in the top three on the team in scoring last year, by a wide margin. Agemura and Veith were both selected to the All-Star team because of their stellar play during the season. Key senior forwards Mitch Cox and big-hitting Skyler Blacker also return to varsity.

For the early part of the season, Coach Scott has balanced out the lines so the team is not as one-dimensional. He has decided to put Elfering with Agemura and Mattson. This move places  Vieth down with Cox and sophomore Zach Fuhrman.

“It’s important to have even lines because everyone on our team has talent and if they are out with the right guys, we will have three lines of solid offense,” Glenn said.

On the junior varsity level, eight players were marked on the seven-up list. This list allows a junior varsity player to get called up to varsity for up to seven games if needed. Along with Wooten, juniors Ethan Hertzler, Brendan Spraggs, and Jack Benoit and sophomores Kevin Kaya, Jack Iannuzzi, Mark Korn, and Tate Constable made the group of eight. These players could potentially play a major role on varsity in the event of an injury or suspension.

The captains for the varsity team are still being decided and Coach Scott plans on evaluating over the next few weeks before he makes his decision. Since former captains Peter and Sakas graduated, Agemura is the only returning captain.

The Icecats opened their season Saturday, Sept. 10th with a 2-0 loss versus the D155 Predators, then followed that up with a 5-3 win against Warren on Wednesday, Sept 21st in their second game of the season.

All of the Icecats’ varsity home games are streamed live on the High School Cube. The next varsity home game will be Wednesday, Sept. 28 against Notre Dame.