July 16, 2024
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Yeshiva Varsity Hockey Preview

The holidays have come and gone and the 2015-2016 Metropolitan Yeshiva High School Hockey League varsity and junior varsity seasons have kicked off for hundreds of high schoolers across New York and New Jersey. For the second consecutive year, the Western Conference will look to reclaim its dominance after watching two of its Eastern Rivals, DRS and HAFTR play for the championship, with HAFTR taking home the crown. The Western Conference will have no shortage of teams looking to stand above the rest once the dust settles, but first, they must get through each other.

Much like last year, the best of the West is the TABC Storm. Yair Knoller and Daniel Levy form arguably the best offensive line in the Yeshiva League and as seniors are poised to cause nightmares for goalies across the conference. It doesn’t hurt to have three of the best defensemen in the league behind them in Shua Naor, Ari Fuchs and Calev Minsky. Coming off of last year’s deflating semifinal loss, this class is determined and extremely capable of steamrolling through everyone in their path.

With every favorite, there are teams looking to knock them off of their perch. This season, the SAR Sting, Frisch Cougars and Ramaz Rams are all strong candidates and could put a halt to the Storm championship plans.

Last year, SAR came within a goal of knocking off HAFTR in the semifinals in the longest game in Yeshiva League history and are looking to go one step further in 2016. Josh Rosenberg, Azi Lavi, Ariel Smith and Jonah Amron will lead the way. Only three juniors will play for SAR, with the class led by scoring phenom Solomon Freilich. So the Sting have decided to bring up sophomores Jason Burian and Shua Friedman, to fill out the ranks.

For the Frisch Cougars, last year’s squad seemed to be a decidedly solo effort on offense. How Odi Haramati went, so did the Cougars. This year, though, there will be enough scoring talent to spread the burden. Brothers Stevie and Yehuda Brinn will lead a group that includes Jordan Soclof, Bryan Alter and Ryan Eisner. On the defensive end, the Cougars will benefit from a talented junior class that features Jonny Newman, Jacob Silber and Sammy Weitschner.

The Ramaz Rams field a very small roster, only 12 players. Among the few are some extremely talented hockey players, including third-year varsity player Alex Glaubach, fellow seniors Jared Feingold and Gabe Silverman and 2015 JV All-Star Ollie Haddad. Ben Kaplan will find himself between the pipes.

Also in the hunt will be the Kushner Cobras and the JEC Thunder. Kushner comes in with a talented group on the floor, led by top defenseman Alec Rabinowitz. Israel Gulko will get the job between the pipes. Conversely, JEC’s strength will be in its net with Jason Silverstein beginning his junior campaign. Yehuda Weitz, Yitzy Zwickler and Avi Roth will look to put points on the board for the Thunder.

In junior varsity, a new format has the West fielding only five teams, with a playoff format that will really only see at best three teams escaping an extremely tough grouping.

SAR will still feature a dominant sophomore class led by 2015 finals MVP Gordie Kolb and running mate Judah Fortgang. A talented freshman class featuring Ethan Green, Jonathan Haims, Aytan Waxman and goalie Henri Kolb will give the Sting a strong secondary unit, and will enable SAR to entertain visions of a second consecutive year raising the JV trophy.

Standing in their way are the Frisch Cougars and the TABC Storm. Frisch will field an extremely talented offensive squad with Joe Tropp, Benjy Feintuch and Charlie Bendheim. A major addition in the form of HANC transfer Maury Bauer and freshmen Aryeh Bloom and JJ Coren will keep opposing goaltenders on their toes.

After not hoisting the JV trophy for the first time in six seasons, the TABC Storm are rebuilt. Akiva Weider, Yonatan Sturm and Efraim Tiger will be key contributors in front of second year goalie Refi Minsky.

To follow each team’s progress throughout the season, tune in to the Court Report, the Yeshiva League-based talk show, airing at 7 p.m. on Sundays and Tuesdays on the Nachum Segal Network.

Elliot Weiselberg is the host of the Court Report as well as the voice of the JM in the AM Sports Update for Nachum Segal airing on Tuesdays around 7:20 AM. Elliot has served in numerous capacities including referee, analyst and commentator, and he currently coaches Rambam Varsity as well as the YCQ Wildcats of the New York Junior High League.

By Elliot Weiselberg

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