By Ross Forman
It’s been a fun first eight days of the season for the Broncos.
“We have a very close group of players (who) are very excited to make their final year of playing Broncos Hockey one to remember,” said Barrington head coach Steve Martins, 47, in his seventh season, his 10th overall coaching.
Barrington certainly looks to improve over a year ago, when the Broncos finished an injury-filled season with an overall record of 21-24-1.
“(The) team did not display the consistency needed to be a top five high school team in the state,” last season, Martins said. “While we competed against top teams on a nightly basis, we never made the jump to that next level to combat adversity and become an elite team.”
This season, the Broncos feature some truly gifted forwards and a solid goaltending tandem.
“We need to be more mentally focused, especially during times of adversity,” Martins said. “As a team, we need to stay out of the penalty box to be able to give our team the best chance to win every game.”
Here’s a look at the top returning Barrington players:
** CJ Parisi, a senior forward who has “great hands and is always a danger to score,” Martins said. Parisi skated for the Illinois Showcase Team.
** Jack Jones, the senior forward was last year’s captain. “He works hard in all three zones and was the Scholastic Hockey League’s scoring champion,” Martins said. Jones also made this year’s Illinois Showcase Team.
** Ben Mazurek, the senior goalie is a four-year varsity player who is “very competitive and always gives us a chance to win,” Martins said. Another Illinois Showcase Team member.
** Mathew Marquis, the senior wing is the “heart and soul” of the team, Martins said. “He plays in every situation and competes well above his size and stature.”
** Nicholas Nehf, the senior forward was the SHL JV scoring leader a few years ago. Nehf is “very good around the net and will provide another wave of scoring for this year’s offense,” Martins said.
** Max Scodius, the senior is Barrington’s top returning defenseman “who plays all situations, and has a heavy wrist shot from the blue line,” Martins said. “(He is) a quiet leader who will provide stability on (defense).”
“Our experience and team chemistry is certainly an asset this season,” Martins said. “All our players have the added incentive to make their final year of high school hockey a memorable one, for sure. If we can stay healthy, we should be able to have a very successful year both in our league and in state.”
Barrington boasts 16 seniors, more than it has ever had.
Key newcomers include senior forward Max Adams and sophomore defenseman John Elmer.
“Max can play center or wing and has blazing straight-away speed, coupled with soft hands. Max will be a key component of our offense in his first and final high school season,” Martins said. “John is a steady, all-around defenseman who will add stability to our (defensive) depth.”
Martins added: “With the large makeup of seniors this season, we are relishing the opportunity to compete against any opponent on any given night. Like any given year, our team’s goal is to give ourselves the best chance to win a state championship. That said, (the) short-term goals must include performing on a consistent basis from game to game, week to week, against any and all teams throughout the season. With an added focus on our first month of play, we are building to become the best ‘team’ by February/March (for the) playoffs and state (tournament).
Barrington will hit a buzz saw in every Scholastic Hockey League game, as the league features No. 1-ranked New Trier Green, plus perennial powers Loyola Gold, Glenbrook North, Saint Viator and Stevenson, among others.
“I imagine the league will again be very strong and competitive. With the return of Saint Viator and the additions of both Carmel Catholic and OPRF, the SHL will inevitability have the most Top-10-ranked (teams) in the state,” Martins said.
So what’s the key for Barrington?
Consistency, chemistry and experience, Martins said. “Like any team, special teams will play a key role in our overall success,” he added.
Senior defenseman Lukas Van Ness, who also plays football, could be Barrington’s break-out player. “His size and sheer strength, coupled with the excitement of playing his final year of high school hockey, will make him a formidable force back on D,” Martins said.
On The Bench With … Barrington Head Coach Steve Martins
The 2020 Stanley Cup Champion Will Be: Tampa Bay Lightning
All-time Favorite Chicago Blackhawk: Dennis Savard
Hardest Slapshot on Barrington: Lukas Van Ness
Most Accurate Shot: CJ Parisi
Best Playmaker: Jack Jones
Player Who One Day Could Be a Coach: Max Scodius
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.