In the last practice before Tuesday's season opener, ice hockey coach Frank Bendl said he spoke to his team about mistakes.
"If you do cut down on mistakes any team can beat any other team on any given night," Bendl said. "You have to work hard and you have to work smart."
Bendl previously coached the Flyers' varsity team from 1995 until 2005. The last game he coached for the Flyers was the CHSHL state championship game, a 5-1 loss to powerhouse St. Joseph's High School of Buffalo, NY.
"We had a great trip up to Buffalo for the state title game and we had a great group of kids that year," Bendl said. "I didn't really give it up, but I felt it was just time to do something different."
This year Bendl and assistant coach Vinny Capasso have worked to refresh the program's defensive-minded system, which is similar to what that helped the Flyers' hockey program succeed at the junior varsity and varsity levels.
"I think every sport – particularly in soccer and hockey – a team starts with its defense," Bendl said during the team's final skate at Iceland in New Hyde Park. "We were strong defensively when we played for the state championship. In the past, we were always a strong team from the goal out and that's the way we feel today with this team."
The Flyers defense should be built around senior goaltender, Thomas Dorsey and a core of senior defensemen led by Michael Gallagher. During last year's trying 4-11-1 season, Dorsey stopped 284 of 351 shots. He is expected be in net Tuesday afternoon when Chaminade opens the CHSHL season against St. Anthony's at Superior Ice Rink in King's Park. Face-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
"With young hockey players, the key is to teach them to limit their mistakes," Bendl said. "I realized I missed coaching and I missed the kids and I realized there were things I could have taught them that I didn't - not just about sports, but about life too. I missed some of those things and this is a great opportunity."
CROSS CHECK: Chaminade will face a St. Anthony's team that lost to Canisius High School (Buffalo, NY), 2-1, last year at the NYSCHSAA state championship game in Mt. Vernon, NY…The Friars are coached by Jeff Stelmok…Former Friar Rob Scuderi is the only player from Long Island ever to win the Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh Penguins 2009) and currently plays for the Los Angeles Kings.