The Pioneer

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The Pioneer

The Pioneer

A Look into the WOHS Hockey Season

Highlights from the team’s season and notes from the 2023 Winter Sports Media press conference
WOHS Sports Media
The boys celebrate during the game against Park Regional.

It’s the dead of winter and the middle of the school year which means hockey season is in full swing. The West Orange Mountaineers currently sit at a record of 5-8 on the season, holding second place in the McMullen division. West Orange plays home games at Richard J. Codey Arena.

Coming off an impressive 13-8-1 season, capped off by a McMullen Championship trophy, the Mountaineers suffered the loss of key players such as seniors Jack Olsen, Jackson Pruksarnukul, and Andrew Raymon. They also lost Junior Defenseman Ayan Flowers as he transferred to Montclair Kimberley Academy. Nonetheless, West Orange is thriving in the new era of blue and is looking to go back-to-back in the division this year.

“We’ve all been with each other since we were young,” Captain Pete Stephens stated in a press conference at the 2023 Winter Sports Media Day. Much of the team has been playing hockey together since a young age through the Mountain Top League rec teams in West Orange which has created a strong bond between players. Although much of the team has been together from the start, some newcomers joined the troupe including freshman Guilherme Sitorski, who transferred into the school district to play with the Mountaineers. Sitorski currently has 4 goals and 5 points this season.

With old competition leaving, including Scotch Plains-Fanwood, the team West Orange faced and beat in the finals last year, and Newark East Side. New competition, however, has filled those spots such as Kearny who currently boasts third in the division behind West Orange.

The team is led by the likes of juniors Dominic Locricchio and Reid Tenzer, who both currently have 27 points in 13 games. Other contributors include sophomore Lukas Ahmadi and freshman Justin Anderton are key to the team’s success. And the goaltender, Christain Anderton, has been lights out this season with a .899 save percentage and 302 saves. “This year we’re really rolling through guys, last year we were kind of top-heavy. It’s a big switch up but it’s something we’re ready for,” junior and defensive headliner Anthony Pondillo mentioned.

West Orange is looking for a hard push at the tail end of the season, currently hot on a 2-game win streak, and 3-1 in their last 4. The top two teams in the division get a bye in the playoffs. Last year, West Orange got the bye and beat number 3-seeded Millburn in the second round. This year, the team is still fighting for that bye, which will be decided in a Monday game against 3-seeded Kearny. Other teams in the Division include Hoboken, Millburn, Bayonne, and Johnson High School.

Coaches Eddie Scafidi and Shane Daiek have been major contributors to the team’s divisional success this year, being the backbone of the team, and mentors to many of the players. Assistant Coach Daiek played collegiate-level hockey at the University of Rhode Island.

The team has been working nonstop both on and off the ice throughout the season to prepare for these moments. After every practice, the team has done dryland workouts to build muscle, improve stamina, and get in the right mindset. The squad has also been consistently watching game film on Hudl.

The Mountaineers face Kearny this Monday, January 29 at Codey Arena, in their biggest game of the season.

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