High expectations for boys hockey season


Stillwater boys varsity hockey hasn’t even played their first game yet, but have already managed to hold high expectations headed into the season.

On Nov. 2 and 11, “Follow The Puck“, a Twitter account that blogs about Minnesota High School Hockey, predicted the Stillwater boys team to come out of Section 4 and earn a spot in the 2016 Minnesota State Tournament.

The team’s ultimate goal this season is to not only make it to the state tournament, but to win the championship. The team is also seeking its first conference championship in the programs history. Pete Hamilton, assistant coach for the Ponies, and other coaches are excited to get at it. His plan is to look at the season in small chunks. Play each game period by period, and not worry about the game coming up until the current one is over.

“We need to look at it in small chunks. Not even game by game, but period by period,” Hamilton said. “Don’t worry about the next game or period until we take care of the one before that.”

We want the state title. No exceptions. We’re going to have to work hard and go in to every game with a positive outlook.”

— Simon Sagissor

Senior Simon Sagissor, was named captain after last year’s season. He plans to set a good role for the underclassmen to follow. If his season is anything like last year’s, he will do just that. Sagissor finished the season with 13 goals and 14 assists, six of those goals were game winners.

“We want the state title,” Sagissor said. “No exceptions. We’re going to have to work hard and go in to every game with a positive outlook.”

Two years ago, in the 2013-2014 season, the Ponies shocked the state and defeated the mighty Hill Murray Pioneers, winning the section for the first time ever and clinching a spot in the State Tournament. They lost in the first round to the champions, the Edina Hornets, but the experience gained was a huge step in the right direction for the Ponies.

Hamilton was part of the coaching staff the year the Ponies made an appearance in the state tournament. He and the rest of the coaches are hoping to go above and beyond that year by winning the championship. The team in 2013-2014 was a much older group, with more seniors on the team. This year’s team is younger.

“That team probably didn’t have as much talent overall, but they all came together at the right time,” Hamilton said. “This year’s team is loaded with talent and is much younger. We hope this team can bring some other pieces together and make this season special.”

Senior goaltender, Josh Benson, was the goalie on the team that went to state in 2014. He is also the teams goalie this year as well. A lot of pressure is put upon the goaltender in hockey. Benson wants to do anything he can to help the team win.

“We’re going to have to work really hard to achieve what we want to do,” Benson said. “With the talent we have, if we just can add the hard work we’ll be in good shape. In the crease, I’m going to need to do everything I can to put my team in the position to win.”

The team is really emphasizing hard work. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” is what the Ponies are hoping to stick to. With the talent the team has, mixed with hard work, it will be hard for anyone to stop them. Benson believes hard work is the key to success this year for Stillwater.

“With the talent we have, plus the hard work we’re putting in, it will be hard for us to lose,” Benson said.

The first game is approaching, and the expectations high, the Ponies of 2015-2016 are ready to bring the city of Stillwater the first state championship ever for hockey. With hard work and talent, the future looks bright, but anything can happen in the game of hockey.

“This year we are going to work hard, have fun, and get better,” Hamilton said. “With those three things right there, wins will follow, and championships will follow.”