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Superintendent Listening Post

Mayo Boys Hockey Approaching Cross-Town Rivalry

After coming off one of the best seasons in over a decade, the 2024 Mayo Boys Hockey team has a lot to live up to, and so far they have struggled with a 2-19 record. Their next game is against the crosstown rival the Century Panthers, with a record of 16-3. 

The first time these two teams met this year was on January 13th, and it ended up with a victory for the Panthers. The game was neck and neck; after the first period the game was tied 0-0. The Panthers came out hot in the second and scored four unanswered goals, ultimately defeating the Spartans 5-0. Looking forward to Thursday, players on both teams are in for a tight game. 

Junior captain Tommy Verdick commented on the biggest challenge of the year so far, saying that “Losing 18 games, it is hard for some people to show up and try their best when you lose all the time.” Verdick said the highlight of the year so far has been the two games they have won. Verdick highlighted one of the players for the upcoming game, “Noah Hagen has really good vision and patience as a sophomore defensemen and can move the puck up ice efficiently.” 

Due to the fact that this year’s team only has four returning varsity players from last year’s dominant team, Verdick is concerned about how well players are able to handle the atmosphere of an intense crosstown rivalry game: “I am nervous but excited.” Verdick said the skill the team needs to work on the most approaching the Century rematch is getting shots on net and ultimately scoring goals. The Spartans have less than half as many goals as their opponents so far this season. 

Throughout this difficult season, the team has had to focus on the positives of the sport. Senior captain Mikah Nelson said, “Having fun and joking around in the locker rooms and on the bus is what has made this season fun, amidst the losing streak.” 

Not everything about the season is bleak; there is room for hope. Many of the Spartans’ losses this year have been by only one goal, so the games have been very close. Nelson said this has been the biggest challenge they have faced: “We haven’t been able to pull through in the tight one-goal games. I would say that has been the biggest challenge.” As a result, his opinion on the next step in the season is to keep battling, trying to win a few more games before playoffs begin. 

Nelson highlighted one of the players to watch on the team for the upcoming game, “Mikkel Norby, he lights people up, which can be a big momentum shift for the team when we’re losing.” Nelson is hopeful about the upcoming game: “This next game will definitely be a battle, especially if we still have two goalies out for concussions, but I think we have improved since the last time we played Century and can put up a good fight.” The biggest thing Nelson thinks that everyone on the team needs to work on before the game is “not being a wimp.” As a captain he encourages players to sacrifice themselves for their teammates, like “taking a hit to get a pass off.” Nelson is optimistic about their team improving in this aspect. 

The Spartans are in for a battle against the dominant Century Panthers, but the team is confident in their ability to work hard when things aren’t going their way. The last game they played involved only a matter of a few minutes that decided the outcome. The upcoming rivalry on February 8th will be a game you don’t want to miss. 


Photos courtesy of Amanda Verdick


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