Hornets win four of last six games
The Emmaus ice hockey team had a rough start to its 2018-19 campaign, losing its first four games. But since it has gotten back on the right path with wins in four of its last six outings.
“We opened the season with four very difficult games: Parkland, Freedom and two games against Northampton,” said Hornet head coach Keith Hurlburt. “These are the top teams in the league and we struggled a bit.
“Since then we have played very well and won four of the last six games. I was hoping to be 5-5 at this point in the season, we fell a little short of that goal, but overall I am very pleased with the effort and commitment from the team.”
It has not been an easy start for the first-year head coach and his Green Hornets (4-6 overall) team, but they have made due and have been able to benefit by playing for the future.
“We have a fairly short bench this season and I have had to bring up three to five players every game from the JV team,” Hurlburt said. “The JV players have really stepped up and provided a lot of support to our team. They have really contributed and have been a big part in our four victories.
“It is a big deal to play against kids three and four years older, and our JV team has performed admirably. Last year only one player from the JV team played in a varsity game and he was a sophomore. So far this season I have pulled six players, including three freshman, and all have made significant contributions.”
In a nine-team league, Emmaus sits in the middle of the standings through the first half of the season. And that is a credit to the first-year coach and his players.
“I was the head coach of the JV team last year and I’ve coached in various capacities for the Emmaus organization for the past seven years,” said Hurlburt. “In addition, I’ve been coaching various levels of travel hockey for the past 12 years. The transition to varsity head coach has been fairly easy, in my opinion, as I know all of the boys on the team and have worked with all of them previously and a few of them for seven-plus years. All of the players have been great in accepting me as the coach this season, which has been a big help.”
The Green Hornets are the most battled-tested of any team in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Ice Hockey League this season, having played 10 games this season while only one other team in the league (Northampton) has played more than seven.
Daniel Mccabe leads the Hornets in goal scoring with 13, while Justin Hurlburt is tops in assists (eight) and points (19). Goalie Austin Moudy has four wins on the year.
“With six games left in the season I have a goal to finish with eight wins,” Hurlburt said. “This is not my ultimate goal. I hope that all of the players look back on this season with a lot of great memories. Whether we win or lose it is my job to make sure that these players continue to love the sport of hockey.
“The 2018-19 team consists of players with many different backgrounds. A few of the boys play at a very high level of travel hockey, while others just hit the ice a couple years ago. My job is to work with all of the players and get them to gel and play together as one team. I plan to spend a lot of time in the next few weeks working on basic skating, passing and shooting drills as well as a limited number of systems that everyone can run.”
Emmaus’ next game is Monday, Dec. 10 against unbeaten Freedom at Lehigh Valley Ice Arena.