Paupack's jayvee ice hockey team capped a so-so regular season with an inspired run in the play-offs. With Coaches Lance Landolfi & Ryan Stull at the helm, the young Bucks advanced all the way to the NEPSHL championship game before losing to Back Mountain, 4-1.
If the performance of this year’s JV squad is any indication, Paupack’s varsity hockey team should be ready to challenge for yet another NEPSHL title in 2011.
Under the direction of coaches Lance Landolfi and Ryan Stull, the young Bucks advanced all the way to the ‘10 championship game before finally falling to Back Mountain.
“These kids really worked well together,” Coach Landolfi told TWI Sports. “We were pretty good at both ends of the ice. We definitely got better as the season progressed.”
Paupack struggled to find its identity early on this season, but came on strong late in the year and in the play-offs.
After posting a mediocre 5-7-0 record, the young Bucks entered the NEPSHL tournament as a #5 seed. From there, though, Paupack turned in impressive back-to-back wins and punched its ticket to the finals.
The local lads thumped Scranton in the quarters by a score of 10-4. The Bucks then survived a nailbiter against Susquehanna Valley in the semis.
Ean Hibian played the hero’s role. A freshman who saw equal time as a defenseman and forward, Hibian scored the game winning goal in overtime. Ean’s clutch tally gave Paupack a 7-6 victory and a berth in the title tilt.
Sadly for local fans, the Bucks came up a bit short against Back Mountain. However, even this 4-1 loss couldn’t dampen Coach Landolfi’s spirits.
“The future definitely looks bright,” he said. “We have quite a few talented and dedicated young players in the pipeline. The next couple of years should be exciting.”
The program’s sophomore class is loaded with future varsity stars. Chase Borden (Honesdale), Kevin Smith (DV), Dan Fair (Honesdale) and Jack Kingston (Honesdale) all saw time both on the jayvee and varsity ice this winter.
Coach Landolfi calls Jonathan Rutledge “the most improved player on our team.”
A freshman at Honesdale, Rutledge missed his entire eight grade season due to a nasty leg injury. He returned to the fold this year bigger, stronger and faster.
Isaac Syre is the Bucks’ ice hockey prodigy.
Just a seventh grader at Wallenpaupack Area, Syre started in goal for the JV team and even saw some varsity minutes this year.
“Isaac is still a little bit small, but he’s going to be an outstanding goalie,” said Coach Landolfi. “He’s very fast and athletic and has a good understanding of the game.”
Brian Becker, Tom Smith, Tom Brady and Tristan Hefty are also waiting in the wings for a future varsity spot.
Becker in a freshman at Paupack. He teamed with Rutledge at forward to form a potent 1-2 offensive punch.
Smith and Brady are both seventh graders who bring speed and precision skating to the ice. Hefty is in eighth grade and played a major role in Paupack’s jayvee success in the post season.
“Our only weakness as a team is that we tended to play down to the level of our competition,” Coach Landolfi said. “But, as these kids get more experience, that should disappear.”