2017-11-12 / Sports

Hockey teams will face new challenges

BY SPORTS STAFF


Lapeer’s Jordan Moore, who was an assistant captain last year, returns for his junior season. 
Photo by Brandon Pope Lapeer’s Jordan Moore, who was an assistant captain last year, returns for his junior season. Photo by Brandon Pope LAPEER — The Lapeer hockey team looks to bounce back from a 10-16 overall and 0-6 league record in the 2016-17 season, as Steve Seres takes over as the new Lightning head coach.

“I’m excited,” said Seres. We have a good junior corps, a few sophomores and a few freshmen. We have a lot of people excited to come out for hockey.”

The Lightning will be led by the junior duo of Jordan Moore and Brayden Regling, who both served as assistant captains as sophomores last season.

There will still be many holes to fill, as Lapeer loses captains Dylan Regling and Cooper Johnson, as well as goalie Ryan Rogers to graduation. Last year’s senior class also included Eddie Brecht, Alex Olson, Noah Jones and Pat McNulty.

They will be succeeded by this season’s senior group of Brian Morris, Logan Cooper and Matt Todd. The Lightning will be a junior-heavy squad. In addition to Moore and Regling, Dakotah DeShaw, Ben Rogers and Nate Seres, who is coach Seres’ son.

A pair of sophomores also return in Bailey Bostick-Tullius and Jakob Sutherby.

Seres looks to right the ship for the Lightning, following a season that including multiple suspensions and a social media scandal.

“The thing you build on is respect and discipline,” said Seres shortly after being hired in September. “A player will know not to take an unnecessary penalty out of frustration. They will learn what hurts the team and what helps the team. When players aren’t frustrated, they begin to play hockey properly.”

Seres believes the key to this will be focusing on each player as an individual.

“The first thing you have to build in a hockey player is confidence,” he said. “We do that through positive reinforcement. That’s my job. If they do that (build their confidence) good things will happen. I call it putting tools in your box. Every player has a set of tools and if I can get their tool box full of the right tools, they can learn to make a decision and learn from it and move on. They won’t be punished for making a wrong decision. Those are lessons we can all learn from as a team.”

This will be Lapeer’s first season as an independent team that is unaffiliated with a conference.

“We are not playing a league schedule this year because we didn’t think we were going to have enough members to have a team this year,” said Lapeer co-principal and athletic director Shad Spilski.

By the time Lapeer was able to field enough players for a team, most teams in the Saginaw Valley League had taken the Lightning off their respective schedules. However, Lapeer will be back in the SVL for the 2018-19 season said Spilski. Lapeer will also play in the Div. 2 regional facing Davison and Romeo. -— J.O.

Alliance

The Alliance hockey team will head into this season in a newly restructured Mid-Michigan Hockey Conference league. The league, which once included Mid-Michigan Storm and Bay Area Thunder, will now only consist of the Alliance, Tri-Valley Titans, FNV Griffins, Fenton/Linden and the United.

Last season, the Alliance finished with an 18-9 record overall and 5-2 in the league for second place. The Alliance also saw the graduation of four players, including team leader and forward,

Adam Green, and defenseman Donovan Dumoulin.

“It should be a good team, everyone is a senior or junior and has played with us before,” said Alliance coach Tom Ferreri. “We are fortunate enough to have a number of upperclassmen.”

Aside from the four losses to graduation, the Alliance is returning 14 players and adding four newcomers to the team. The Alliance will look to newcomers and forwards Zack Hanaford and Johnny Labombard to improve the offensive production and defensemen Austin Stevens and Mason Richie to improve the defensive effort.

“Based on our schedule, we expect a competitive season, but a challenging season also,” added Ferreri.

The Alliance opened its season against Avondale at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Detroit Skating Club and will travel to Iceland Arena on Wednesday to face Swartz Creek/Clio/ Flushing at 6 p.m. — K.R.

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