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Next Generation Looks to Build Upon Legacy at Shattuck-St. Mary’s

By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com, 03/26/14, 4:45PM MDT

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Hockey has long held a prominent place at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, particularly in the last two decades. During Olympic years, the sport’s profile at the Faribault, Minn. boarding school expands.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s had eight of its former students, including seven graduates, playing hockey in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“We’ve been super fortunate to have a number of our alums and former students playing in Olympic Games for different countries,” said Tom Ward, the Director of Hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, which will take three youth teams and two girls’ teams to Toyota-USA Hockey Tier I National Championships next month. “It’s definitely a buzz. There’s a lot of watching of the games.

“This year was a bit different because of the severe time change. … But we made special arrangements to have the games on TV in the auditorium on the big screen. It’s fun, the kids like to follow kids that slept in the same beds and sat in the same locker room as them.”

The alumni list featured six Team USA players, including captain Zach Parise and Derek Stepan on the men’s team that advanced to the semifinals. Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel and twin sisters Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux played for the women’s team, which earned a silver medal.

The other alumnus was Jonathan Toews, alternate captain of the gold-medal-winning Canadian men’s team. Sidney Crosby, who spent one year at Shattuck-St. Mary’s — and has a younger sister, Taylor Crosby, playing goalie for the school’s 19U girls’ team — was the captain of Canada, joining Toews in winning a second straight gold medal.

“We’ve been blessed to have some players move through,” Ward said. “There will be some new, younger players moving up through that will have a chance in the future, but who knows what the Games are going to look like in the future on the male side.”

Taylor Crosby is not the only goalie at the school with a connection to hockey’s elite. Jeremy Brodeur, a junior from Essex Fells, N.J., is the son of New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who has more wins and shutouts than any goalie in National Hockey League history during his 22-year career. Jeremy Brodeur plays on the national-bound Prep (18U) team, while his twin brother, William Brodeur, is a forward on a Midget AAA team that is one of five youth teams in the school’s program.

The ability of Shattuck-St. Mary’s to churn out some of the world’s top male and female players seems safe for now, and Ward says the younger levels of the program are feeding the school’s top teams a strong group of players.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s reached the USA Hockey Tier I 18U youth semifinals last season and the lost the national Tier I 14U youth final in double overtime. The school also has the defending national Tier I 16U girls’ champion.

“We’ve been lucky to have some depth in our program,” Ward said. “Going on two or three years now, we’ve had very strong U14 teams, Bantam teams, and those players are starting to percolate up on the boys’ side. On the women’s side, we had a real strong, national championship U16 team.”

Ward coaches the 18U youth team that has not lost since Dec. 3. The Sabres are 22-0-1 since then to improve to 38-7-2 overall.

Less than half the roster — forwards Anthony Petrella, Chase Phelps, Alex Falconer, Broydon Stufko and Alex Rodriguez, defenseman Tyler Rockwell and goalie Luke Kania — returns from last year’s national semifinalist team.

“The second half of the year, we’ve played some pretty good, steady hockey,” Ward said. “We have a fairly young team for us, and it took a little bit for us to find our game.”

Ward said the team has become more consistent by reducing mistakes.

Petrella, a senior from Hilton, N.Y., leads the team in goals and points with 36 goals and 33 assists in 47 games. Clayton Keller, one of two sophomores on the roster, is second in scoring. The Swanson, Ill. resident has 67 points. Rodriguez and Phelps, both seniors from Minnesota, are also over 60 points.

Shattuck-St. Mary's is not part of the Minnesota high school hockey system, leaving it free to travel, including to international events that are part of the experience at the Center of Excellence, the school’s elite sports programs for student athletes in hockey, figure skating, golf and soccer.

The 16U team has been through a tough stretch recently against a demanding schedule to drop to 33-28-3 on the season.

The Sabres’ Bantam team that will try to return to the 14U national finals swept a three-game series from Team Wisconsin March 22-23 to run its winning streak to eight games and improve to 55-7 on the season.

All but one player on the team are freshmen at the school. Forwards Julian Detmer, from Washington, D.C., and Logan Hutsko, from North Caldwell, N.J., were each with the team at nationals last year as eighth-graders. Scott Reedy, from Prior Lake, Minn., and Brannon McManus, from Newport Beach, Calif., are each over 100 points for the season.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s is trying to add to its record five 18U national titles (2005, ’07, ’08, ’11 and ’12) and its list of three national titles and seven runner-up finishes at the younger levels.

“We’ve got a little bit longer here,” Ward said. “We have to watch how much contact we have. This is the last time of the year when you want to have a kid get hurt or fatigue your guys. You’re trying to taper and be ready to go.

“You want to make sure everyone’s fresh and eager by the time you get to the national tournament because the last couple days of the national tournament are a real test of attrition.”

Very few programs have handled that test as well as Shattuck-St. Mary’s through the years.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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