By Jim Smith
Portage Sports Correspondent
The Kent Roosevelt Rough Riders ice hockey team enters the 2022-23 season playing in a different Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League (GCHSHL) division than last season, with a roster of players possessing a wide range of on-ice experience.
Head coach Brad Edwards enters his third season as the team’s bench boss and recently previewed this year’s edition of the Rough Riders.
After performing as a backup goaltender to senior Jake Bennett last season, sophomore Brooke Binder moves into the position full time this season.
While Binder’s time in net was limited a year ago, Edwards pointed out that Binder earned a save percentage above 90 percent and believes having goaltending coach David Simms work with her will be instrumental in her continuing development.
Aiding Binder at the defensive end of the ice will be two sets of defensive pairings led by Senior captain Mikey Haney.
Edwards is relying on Haney to exercise his leadership, while assisting in the development of
underclassmen Teddy Maccarone, a freshman, and sophomore Dominic France.
The fourth defenseman on the team is 6-foot-4 foreign-exchange student Erik Lager Lindström.
Edwards mentioned the team is getting to know Lindström and Edwards is confident that the team’s new face will provide additional leadership.
Four lines of forwards will be an asset to the Rough Riders as they compete in the Blue Division of the GCHSHL this season.
A trio of seniors, Luke Hillebrecht, Owen Stauffer and assistant captain Sam Stefanchik will mentor the group of underclassmen that Edwards described as “talented.”
Among those underclassmen are juniors Gehrig Brown, Matt McCann, assistant captain Brad Simms and Reed Surrena (a transfer student from St. Ignatius).
Sophomores Josiah Karpinecz, Parker Gibbons, Alex Geist and Alex Simms, along with freshmen Ozzy Herbruck and Carter Stevenson comprise the remainder of the forwards group.
The Rough Riders will play a full season of home games at Kent State Ice Arena for the first time since the COVID pandemic closed the ice arena for the 2020-21 season, requiring the Rough Riders to practice and play at The Pond in Geauga County — and experiencing a shortened season in 2021-22.
Edwards is hopeful that navigating through the adversity of those recent seasons has prepared his players for success. Not only on the ice, but handling the day-to-day challenges.
“I think if these kids got through all the adversity they fought through, I am hoping that will translate to them being able to problem solve and get through any adversity as they move forward,” Edwards said.
Assistant coaches Tyler Gallagher, Mike Haney Jr., Brent Pfeiffer and David Simms return to support Edwards in guiding Roosevelt this season. Haney (baseball) and Pfeiffer (golf) bring varsity head-coaching experience to the staff.
• Roosevelt will join Canfield, Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA), Notre Dame- Cathedral Latin (ND-CL) and Orange in the Blue East Division of the GCHSHL this season.
• Edwards was formerly the head ice hockey coach at ND-CL.
• After traveling to Oxford, Ohio to participate in the Talawanda Thanksgiving Tournament Nov. 25-27, the Rough Riders will play 15 games in 30 days in December. Ten of those games will be played at the Kent State Ice Arena.
• Follow Jim Smith on Twitter @bluelinenotes.
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