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Depth, Selflessness Lead Shattuck-St. Mary’s Through Prep Tournament

By Bob Reinert, 03/26/23, 6:15PM MDT


Shattuck’s prep team features four players who won Division I national titles with the program in 2022

Shattuck-St. Mary's prep team

Playing just an hour north of its campus, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School won its first four games to earn a spot in the championship game of the 2023 Chipotle-USA Hockey High School Prep National Championships in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Coach Teddy Doherty pointed out that his team got that far by willing to do all the little things that add up to a winning program. His players understand that clearing the puck from the zone, blocking a shot, or winning a faceoff can be just as important as scoring a goal.

“This team has really come a long way,” Doherty said. “We started the season okay, but we had a lot of things to learn. We had to learn how to defend. We had to learn how to play as a team, use our teammates.

“When you look at the makeup of our team, you notice a couple of guys who have a lot of points. But it’s the guys who maybe don’t have as many points who are just as important to our program and our team’s success. We have a very good record, and we don’t have a good record without all 20 of our guys.”

Shattuck-St. Mary’s enters Monday’s championship game against New Trier Green (Ill.) with a 41-15-1 record this season, after posting a 5-0 win over the Orange Lutheran (Calif.) Lancers in the semifinals on Sunday. 

Sure, Doherty’s club features four players — Svante Strandberg, Alex Dell, Ryan Embley and Aaron Sawicki — from last year’s Division I national championship team (this is the first year that nationals features a prep division). But he will tell you that the supporting cast has played a big part.

“We have a lot of guys who fill and understand what their roles are within our team,” Doherty said. “If you’re a scorer, you’re going to score. If you’re not a scorer, you’re expected to defend and kill penalties and win faceoffs and all the little stuff that doesn’t really go on the stat sheet.

“We have a lot of kids who have really bought in to wanting to be a team player, and it’s been unbelievable to see. As a coach, it really makes you happy.”

Doherty, a Boston College graduate and former professional player, knows exactly what his players are going through. He also played at Shattuck, the longtime powerhouse school from Faribault, Minnesota.

“It’s cool to see how much the school has grown since even 10 years ago when I was there,” Doherty said. “It’s remarkable the access and the facilities that we have.” 

puck will drop at 8:30 am local time (CT) on Monday (March 27)

“It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come, and these athletes have everything they could ever need or want right in front of them. Now it’s up to them to take advantage of those things.”

In 2017, Doherty became a coach in the program.

“It happened really fast,” he said. “But this has always been a dream and a goal of mine. Six years there now, and everything is going awesome.”

Shattuck-St. Mary’s opened the national tournament with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over CATS Academy of Boston-American Hockey Academy. After trailing 1-0 in game two against Valor Christian (Colo.), Shattuck-St Mary’s skated to a 5-1 win.

“The boys stuck with it,” Doherty said. “Shows where we are resiliency-wise. For the most part, we dominated the second period. We were able to build a comfortable lead, and there was smooth sailing from there.”

In what Doherty had termed a “tough test” before the game, another 5-1 decision against the Sioux Falls Flyers propelled his team into the semifinals.

After watching this team grow so much over the course of the season, Doherty wants to close it out properly.

“I would be devastated if it didn’t end in a championship for us because I think the kids have put in the work,” he said. “The opportunity’s right in front of them.

“They’ve bought in, and I would be really crushed to see if it didn’t end in a championship for these guys.”

Doherty knows it won’t be easy, even playing so close to home and in front of a partisan crowd. 

“If we’re not ready to play, any one of the teams can beat us,” Doherty said. “I think the kids understand if we start fast and we play fast, there’s not a ton of teams that can beat us.

“We’ll have to earn this championship. It’s not going to be given to us, and the kids understand that. Because the other team wants to win, too, and when they see that Shattuck on the schedule, they get extra amped up.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.


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