By Ross Forman – Brandon Alesia was one of the best forwards last season in the IHSHL West, tallying 30 goals and 16 assists for co-op Oswego, finishing 4th in the league with 46 points in 32 games played, including 3 power-play, 2 short-handed and 6 game-winning goals.
His 30 goals were third-most in the league and his 6 game-winning goals tied for the league-lead.
“We had a successful season last year,” finishing in fourth place with a 20-10-0-2 record, Alesia said. “We had opportunities to make a stronger push, which is all you can ask for, but overall, I was happy with the team’s effort.”
Oswego finished with 42 points, only behind Maine Township (46 points), Waubonsie Valley (51) and Hinsdale Central (48).
“My main goals (this season) are to stay positive through these difficult times and remain appreciative (for) the opportunities that we do have. I hope to find a college of my interest and possibly continue my hockey career in some capacity.”
Alesia, who lives in Oswego, attends Oswego East High School. His team also features players from Oswego and West Aurora High Schools.
Alesia is in his third season on the varsity and sports uniform No. 23 – a nod to his birthday: Sept. 23, 2002. The left-handed shooting forward formerly skated for the Naperville Sabres.
“My style of play focuses on using my hands, shot and speed in the offensive zone, which helps lead to better goal chances for myself and my linemates,” Alesia said. “In the defensive zone, my main responsibility as a winger is to cover the points and sometimes get a chip off the boards leading to an odd-man rush, giving us opportunities to score.”
Alesia is quick to credit his parents and family for his on-ice success, as well as Oswego coach Paul Dukovac and others. Dukovac “has helped me grow as a player and a person, giving me the leadership role of the team. I have learned so much from him given that opportunity,” Alesia said.
Alesia, who had 3 hat tricks in league play last season, has had many memorable tallies from his career. He scored the shootout-winning goal against Sandburg in the 2018-2019 season and during a squirt tournament championship game at the University of Notre Dame, he was named the tourney MVP and was personally awarded possession of the team’s winning trophy.
“I’ve improved (this season) by simply not taking for granted the fortunate situation I am in where I can still play hockey and be around my friends, because it could be so much worse,” Alesia said. “I don’t feel any pressure; I feel comfortable after playing so many years for Coach Dukovac that everything comes natural to me.
“I am confident with my skill set, I feel that I can do anything out there for the team, whether it is killing a penalty, setting things up on a power play, or just initiating things on a normal shift in order to help out.
“A big aspect of my game is my hands. My stickhandling helps me around defenders and creates space consistently, getting myself into positions where I can shoot the puck, or make plays to my teammates, while using my speed to execute.”
Alesia certainly is one of Oswego’s leaders, on and off the ice.
“I push myself and my teammates in ways where effort leads to simpler ways to work the puck, where we can find success from that effort. I feel like my experience at this level helps take some of the pressure off the newer players. Hopefully, they feel more comfortable and less nervous to make plays knowing that they have my support,” he said.
Alesia also is an Oswego East golfer, the last 2 years as a varsity starter.
“Having only played for 3 years, I am proud of my development, enough so that this year I was able to contribute to our high school’s best-ever finish in conference play, 9-1,” Alesia said. “Golf is a much slower game; there is a lot more time for thought which helps my mental focus in hockey, allowing me to slow the game down when needed.
“Hockey helps me in golf, assisting in forgetting about the things that happened in the past. Whether you made a bad play in hockey or hit a bad shot in golf, there is always a way you can get it back.”
Alesia is undecided on his college plans for next fall, though he wants to pursue a degree in finance.
“I am upset that we are unable to compete in a full season. Everyone looks so forward to league play, but I am enjoying the fact that I am still around my friends and getting the opportunity to be on the ice with them,” Alesia said.
Slapshots With … Oswego forward Brandon Alesia
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: John Tavares
Favorite Sports-Themed Movie: Miracle
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: Pasta
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Wayne Gretzky
Best Hockey Tip: “My parents always tell me attitude and effort are the most important things I can control in anything I am trying to achieve.”
Teammate Who You Could See As a Hockey Coach: Luke Ayers
Hardest Slapshot On Your Team: “Me!”
Most Accurate Shot On Your Team: “Me!”
Fastest Skater: Luke Ayers
Best High School Uniforms (other than Oswego): Naperville North
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.