Medway Ice Hockey Team Aiming For More Success
Medway High’s captains are, from left, Jack Carr, Evan Monaghan and Alex Infanger. Above, right: Derek Harrington is starting his fourth year as Medway’s hockey coach.
By KEN HAMWEY
Staff Sports Writer
Medway High hockey coach Derek Harrington isn’t afraid to set lofty goals for his boys ice hockey team.
He has specific priorities for the 2021-22 season and one objective is for the Mustangs to win a state championship. The other goals are to compete for the Tri Valley Small Division title, win their Christmas Tournament in Maine and to improve daily on each shift.
Harrington is no stranger to division crowns or tourney berths. In his three years at Medway’s helm, his teams have won three straight TVL Small Division titles and they’ve qualified for the playoffs twice (there was no tourney last year because of Covid-19).
“Our goals are high but high goals produce high achievement,’’ said Harrington, who has also worked for the Medway Police Department for 23 years. “Our objectives this year are lofty but I can guarantee that we’ll improve daily on each shift. And, the TVL Small Division crown is within our grasp. We also want to win the Christmas Tournament in Maine at St. Dominic’s Academy in Auburn. As for winning a state title, we can be as successful as we want to be if we do the right things and focus on one shift at a time.’’
The Mustangs lost four players who would have been starters to a prep school and to hockey academies but the 50-year-old Harrington still has skaters with definite strengths.
“Our hockey IQ is high, we’re technically skilled, our goalie is one of the best in the state and our skating ability is strong,’’ he emphasized. “But, even though we’ve got talented players, we do have some inexperience. The talent is there but some of it is untested. Losing four starters does hurt our depth.’’
One place where Medway isn’t hurting is in the leadership department. Its trio of senior captains — goalie Evan Monaghan and forwards Alex Infanger and Jack Carr — all lead by example, all have a variety of top-notch assets and all three are four-year veterans.
“Evan started five games as a freshman,’’ Harrington said. “A two-time TVL all-star, he focuses on all the small details. He’s a student of the game and relies on technical ability and instincts. Alex is tenacious. He’s been our top scorer two straight years. He’s got a nose for the net, is passionate about hockey, has speed, skates well and has a quick shot. Jack is versatile, makes his teammates better, holds players accountable, has a good hockey IQ and is very fast.’’
Senior forward Sean Murphy and junior forward Pari Lykourinos are three-year veterans who’ll be counted on to play key roles.
“Sean has great hands, is strong in the corners and is a good finisher,’’ Harrington said. “He’s got scoring ability. He’s also an aggressive skater who’s powerful and has a high hockey IQ. Pari is a dynamic skater who has a quick release on his shot. He’s a natural talent who can pass and move the puck well. He should have a breakout year.’’
Three seniors that Harrington expects to be major contributors are forwards Nathan Van Saun and Ryan Gagnon, and defenseman Anthony Rossi.
“We’re relying on this group to contribute on the score sheet and in a leadership role,’’ he noted. “All three should be key factors in our success.’’
Four junior forwards and three defensemen round out the Mustangs’ nucleus. The forwards are Luke Frauton, Jackson Bridges, Blake Manning and Jack Reynolds. The defensemen include senior Luke Johnson, junior Tom Creonte and sophomore Henry Eaton.
“This contingent hasn’t seen a lot of playing time,’’ Harrington said. “But their contributions will be extremely helpful in fulfilling all of our goals this season.’’
The style of play Harrington favors is physicality. Expect the Mustangs to forecheck and take care of business in their end. “On offense, we’ll aim to put opposing defenses in a bad position,’’ Harrington emphasized. “We’ll try to take advantage of our opponents’ lapses.’’
If Medway is to collect its fourth TVL Small Division championship, it’ll have to be highly motivated to deal with three teams — Dedham, Norton and Dover-Sherborn. “Dedham is strong, Norton has lots of numbers, and D-S has some up-and-coming skaters,’’ Harrington offered.
A native of Brockton, Harrington lived in Medway for 17 years before moving to Franklin. A 1989 graduate of Medway High, he played three sports (football, baseball and hockey) and was captain in football and hockey his senior year. Before taking the varsity reins at Medway, he was a Mustang assistant for 16 years. His career record at the varsity level is 31-17-9.
Harrington’s staff this season will include two varsity assistants — Kyle Dwyer and J.P. Gasparrini. His four volunteer coaches are Lou Jacques, Ryan Wright, Sean Schindler and Brian Bullen. “All of my assistants, except Lou, played for me during my 19 years of coaching hockey,’’ said Harrington, who also was an assistant in football at Medway for 15 seasons.
Relying on an athletic philosophy that combines winning, reaching one’s potential and having fun, Harrington fosters a healthy environment that “leads to a path of success.’’
And, Harrington hopes his players learn valuable life lessons from hockey. “Overcoming adversity is a great lesson to be learned,’’ he noted. “Sports also help kids develop a strong work ethic and reach their goals. Players can also learn how to be good teammates, how to be leaders and how to become quality citizens.’’
Unlike last year, there will be a post-season tourney this season as long as Covid-19 is under control. “It’ll be great to return to some form of normalcy,’’ Harrington said.
And, if all goes smoothly on the health front, expect Medway’s hockey team to exemplify lots of desire, dedication and devotion to the task at hand.
That’s been the Mustangs’ trademark for the last three years and there’s no doubt those attributes will prevail again.