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Parkland ice hockey team raises banners

It was a magical run that put the Parkland ice hockey program on the map. During the 2012-13 season, the Trojans ran through the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League, taking a first-place finish out of the pure division.

But they didn't stop there. Parkland reached the finals of the Flyers Cup and the state tournament, and the team was honored Monday night with the unveiling of banners hung on the wall behind the north goal at the Lehigh Valley Ice Arena in Whitehall.

The ceremony was followed by an exhibition match between some alumni players and players from the current team.

"This year it seems like they're getting more fans because people know who we are now," said alum Jay Swartz, who now plays at Temple University. "We're actually a legit team, and they are pretty good this year."

"The support was overwhelming," said last year's netminder Robbie Stock. "Towards the end of the season, people started coming up to us and congratulating us and asking us when the next game was."

A lot like the so far unbeaten 2013-14 team, last year's squad overmatched nearly all of the competition, and looked like one of the best teams in the state.

"We just started off wanting to go out and win games," said fellow alum Nicholas Chandik. "Towards the middle of the year it seemed like people got bored because of how good we were playing. Towards the playoffs, people started coming up to us and complimenting us, and it was a great experience."

Three seniors, who were key members of that team, as well as the current undefeated Trojans team took a lot away from that run. Now they are the ones looking to lead a young team back to the finals and come away with a win.

"We definitely looked up to our seniors last year," said Ryan Dumbach. "Even the alumni here that have been through it before knew how hard it was to even win a game at Flyers Cup. We were lucky to even get as far as we did last year. This year we're looking to take that next step and win it all."

"We need to play with a lot of heart," said Morgan Bensinger. "We have to come into each game with a passion. We know what it takes now. We just have to play as hard as we did last year, because it is going to be tough."

This year's team looks to build off the momentum of last year, and use the experience each player has to get back to the big stage, and get over that final hurdle.

"We know that it takes a lot of work to get back there again," said Brett McHale. "Every practice, and every game we want to get better and better. When it comes down to game time we want to be prepared and work hard."