By Ross Forman
But head coach Mark Adler knew it might not be a September sprint when the season started. He’s more focused on wins in January and February games. Plus, the program had 16 seniors graduate from last season.
“We have a great pool of underclassmen that will help the program grow in future years,” he said. “We have some good (varsity) talent from top to bottom. They will develop as they bond and continue to work hard, and will be a strong team in their division.
“We do not have a (talent) drop-off (and there is) trust (among) every player out there, on every shift,” which is key.
LZMW finished 25-14-7 last season after a “slow start and strong finish,” Adler said. “(We) won a tournament in Madison, Wisconsin and beat every team in our division at least once.”
This season’s LZMW squad has “good Hockey IQ, and has been hard-working on and off the ice,” Adler said. “There is no quit in them; we were down by four goals (to the KINGS on Sept. 25) and came back to tie the game, 7-7.”
“We are not deep with numbers and players are so busy with school, other sports and activities, especially early in the season, so focus is a challenge, but time is on our side,” said Adler, whose team already has had to endure the injury bug.
“Once everyone is back it will move from ok to really good.”
Adler, 50, who lives in Northbrook and is the field sales manager, parts trader and president of Tickets by Request. He has been coaching for 22 years and this is his second with LZMW.
His coaching resume includes 14 years with the Northbrook Bluehawks, plus time with the Bulldogs, Northwestern University and Deerfield JV.
Senior captain Aidan Brendle (Wauconda) will be a key this season, as he was the team’s leading scorer.
Senior Ryan Selby (Lake Zurich) also is a key returner and is the alternate captain.
Senior goalie Nate Seminaro (Wauconda) “has been playing big,” so far, Adler said.
Junior Kevin Winkiel (Wauconda), known as Winks, is a returner who is a “smart player who knows our systems well,” Adler said.
Senior Michael McKay (Mundelein) “spent a lot of time improving his game and becoming a top player on the team with a good shot and hands,” Adler said.
Sophomore Logan Corneil (Wauconda) “has a great LZMW career ahead of him” and junior Aidan Kivlehan (Lake Zurich) “is an offensive force,” Adler said.
Freshman defenseman Charlie Thomas (Mundelein) “already plays like a veteran and is not afraid to mix it up,” Adler said.
“It will be an extremely competitive (league),” Adler said. “Teams that lost their first game against a team will win the second game. Top teams will occasionally beat teams in the higher division as the season goes on.
“For a combined program and its challenges with players from different schools, the players and parents do a great job of bonding, supporting, and helping the program grow.”
On The Bench With … LZMW Head Coach Mark Adler
The 2020 Stanley Cup Champion Will Be: Tampa Bay Lightning
All-time Favorite Chicago Blackhawks Players: Patrick Kane and Dennis Savard
Hardest Slapshot on LZMW: Ryan Selby
Most Accurate Shot On LZMW: Jack Selby
Fastest Skater on LZMW: Aidan Brendle
Best Playmaker on LZMW: Kevin Winkiel
Player Who You Could See As a Coach One Day: Aidan Brendle
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.