The New Hampshire Avalanche Prep U18 team has gained some national attention recently. The team of 20 young men is currently ranked fourth in the country only behind Shattuck St Mary, Selects Academy, and the Cape Cod Whalers.
Head coach Ian O’Connor says the team has a strong will to compete. As his first season coaching the team, he’s pleased with what he’s seen so far. “Guys come to the rink really focused so from a coaching standpoint, it’s a pretty easy group to coach. They certainly work hard to compete every game and I think we’re a pretty fast team, a pretty skilled team. We’re pretty versatile too, we’re able to play a tough physical game, so it’s certainly a good group to get to work with.”
The teams current record according to My Hockey Rankings is 11-4-3 with a rating of 98.35. The squad is made up of players from different prep schools with players from across New England, Canada, even as far as Georgia and California.
O’Connor says one key factor contributing to his team’s success has been been their ability to compete defensively. “We’ve got really good goaltending across the board. We have really good depth defensively that’s been a huge key to our success.”
In addition to skill is the leadership qualities many players on the team have. “I think we have really good leadership Lukas [Uhler] is probably a guy that I would point to him as our captain, he’s the guy who’s mature, he competes a ton defensively he kills penalties really well but he plays on our top power play unit as well. I think our leadership group kind of starts with him it’s a leadership group that’s for sure, Michael Kesselring is a guy on the back end that would probably be our back end leader,” O’Connor said.
With about four weeks of regular season left, the team is transitioning their focus to qualifying for regionals and later on hopefully making a run at the national tournament.
The team is preparing to take on the Valley Jr Warriors this Saturday, October 21st at the Lawrence Valley Forum for a 3:55 pm puck drop.