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HOCKEY: Improved defense is Roosevelt's goal

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The Roosevelt hockey team is patiently waiting for the football team to finish its strong post-season run so the hockey-playing football players can get back on the ice.

When everyone returns, the team will consist of 20 players, half of them seniors. The rest of the roster will be dominated by a deep sophomore class of seven players and three juniors.

Roosevelt will return several players from last season, including goalie, Frank Cerulla.

Goalie Justin Armatis, a senior, has never played for the school before but has jumped on board this season.

Coach Mike Quint knows how important a good goalie will be to his team, as they begin their second season in the tough Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League.

“That’s probably the key to our season right there,” Quint said. “They have to be the backdrop of this team.”

The Bears return five defensemen – juniors Joe Smellie and Joshua Hinderliter and seniors Ben Thompson and Aaron Robinson. Giuseppe Buscemi will return to the ice after sitting the season last year due to injuries.

“The returners, we’re gonna count on a lot,” Quint said. “We’re hoping we can limit other team’s goals.”

Senior Zackary Wheeler is also new this year, and will add to the defense.

According to Quint, those six defenders will, “be leaned on pretty hard this year.”

Up front, the Bears returned a handful of seniors and sophomores and they will all be expected to contribute this year.

Senior Vinnie Jelsomeno will be a standout on the ice this year for the offense.

“He could be the key to success if he comes in every day with his head on,” Quint said. “He’s very talented.”

Returnees Tyler Winters and John Calhoun are also expected to add to the offensive punch.

The Bears will also be looking to output from their deep sophomore class.

Quint said the sophomore class is quite a crew and the three returning forwards, and four newcomers are expected to put a lot of talent out on the ice.

The returning sophs are Blake Reames, Andrew Storey and Jacob Jennings.

For the 2012-2013 season Roosevelt’s main concentration will be their defensive ways.

“We play in a league where you play nothing but the best teams,” Quint said. “So you have to limit their opportunities and keep it close to give yourself an opportunity to win them.”

Last year, the Bears had a hard time buying into solid defense scheme and this year the mentality of the team has shifted.

Quint said the Bears are now aware they cannot go out and blow out teams and instead need to focus on keeping games close and within reach.

“That way you always have an opportunity to win them with a couple lucky bounces,” Quint said.

Roosevelt will open their regular season the weekend after Thanksgiving in the Big Rapids tournament at Ferris State University.

Last Updated: 11/13/2012 3:52:50 PM EST