by Jamie Amell ’20
The KO Hockey team is off to a strong start with a 5-4 record. The team consists of four seniors, five juniors, five sophomores, and four freshmen who have came together to form one cohesive group.
This year, the Wyverns focus on the each other, “The team is very tight, and we have amazing team chemistry,” senior captain Garth Swanson said. “This season, we have been able to translate a lot of the locker room chemistry to the ice, which has helped us succeed.”
After winter break, the team competed against Hamden Hall Country Day School on Friday, Jan. 4, at the International Skating Center. Swanson was the first to score 35 seconds into the opening period on a goal assisted by senior Calvin Beck and senior Jack Gao. Later on in the first period, sophomore Cohl D’Addabbo and junior Karstian Lang each scored to build the Wyverns lead to 3-1. In the end, KO notched six additional goals to win 9-1.
After returning from winter break some of the players had other commitments. “Several players had conflicting activities such as Model UN right after break, but going forward, we will be ready to compete as a full team,” Head Coach John Hissick said. “It is also important that everybody comes back healthy and puts forth the same kind of effort that we had in the beginning of the season.”
The team started out very strong with four wins, and right now is experiencing a bit of a dip, but the team is confident they can bounce back even stronger than before. Freshman Sean Gilland is a dominant force on the ice and is really helping the team this year. “Sean has stood out throughout the season. He has a lot of heart when it comes to this game and it always gives it everything he’s got,” Swanson said. In addition, Swanson said that sophomore Mitchell Autorino has improved tremendously from last season and is a real impact player.
For some of the younger players on the team, it is their first time not playing on a peer age group level. “It is difficult for some of the smaller players to compete against much bigger and faster guys, in addition to playing a much faster game,” Coach Hissick said. “However, this forces us to play more as a team and allows us compete.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 9, the Wyverns jumped out with an early lead against the Forman School with a goal by junior Shane Dawson, assisted by sophomore Will Elliott to make it 1-0. Later in the period, sophomore Keifer Jaffee scored on a pass from Autorino to make it a 2-0 game. The Wyverns found the back of the net again in the first period when Autorino assisted Gilland to bring the score to 3-0 at the end of the period. In the end, the Wyverns won the game 5-2.
The Wyvern’s next game was against South Kent on Saturday, Jan. 26 where they won 8-2. “It is a game that we always look forward to,” Swanson said. “In our past two games with them, we’ve lost despite the fact that we have outplayed them, so it was great to get a win.”