In recent years several former Massena High School hockey players have gone on to play NCAA Division I hockey, including St. Lawrence Universitys Aaron Bogosian, Unions Matt Hatch and Miamis Kevin Morris.
Current Red Raider sophomore Patrick Manning is several years away from even considering that option, but he is hoping to one day be in the list, which also includes Rensselaers Mark Miller and Maines Conor Riley. Another Massena resident of note, even if he never played on the high school team, is Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian.
There is a lot of inspiration to carry on their tradition, Manning said. It influences the way we play, watching them play against Clarkson and SLU. We skate with them during the summer.
Manning, who is already 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, is leading the Red Raiders in scoring this season with 16 goals and 13 assists. Hes helped the team to a 13-4 overall record and entering this week a perfect 11-0 record in Northern Athletic Conference games.
Hes a big kid, a great presence on the ice, Massena coach Mike Trimboli said. Hes a smooth player. He has a great set of hands and he has good hockey sense. One of the biggest attributes he has that I think helps him is his mental attitude. Nothing bothers him. Hes a smooth operator. It doesnt matter who we are playing, or where we are, he just comes to play hockey. Hes as even-keeled as they come with no highs or lows. He knows what needs to be done and puts his hard hat on and goes to work.
He manages his size well on the ice. He is a smart kid on the ice. He knows when to pass and when to shoot. He takes opportunities when they come his way and his vision allows him to make fast decisions. A lot of his goals have come off rebound opportunities where he just happens to be in front.
This is only Mannings second year on the varsity, but hes already had the kind of moment most high school players dream of, scoring a goal 53 seconds into overtime last year in the Section 10 Division I championship game at Cheel Arena at Clarkson, leading the Red Raiders to a 3-2 win over Potsdam. The Red Raiders trailed 2-1 in that game until Grayson Phillips tied the game with just 23.5 seconds left.
That was awesome, Manning said. I couldnt believe Grayson scored the tying goal. We were all in shock. We all went on the ice and we probably could have gotten a penalty for is, but we didnt care at the time. That was a great experience for me.
This season Manning has flourished on a forward line with Jordan Robert and Wyatt Wilmshurst and is hoping to keep his team undefeated against area foes until the Section 10 playoffs begin later this month.
Its very special to carry on the (Massena) tradition, Manning said. Were a really big hockey town. It means a lot not just to me but my family. I know the team a couple years ago went undefeated in the NAC. I didnt really think we would be going undefeated this year. Hopefully we can keep up the good work.
Mannings family tradition includes his father, Todd, who played on a Massena team in 1991 that lost to Suffern in the state title game.
Although Manning is only a sophomore its not too early to be considering what it will take to make reaching NCAA Division I hockey a realistic goal. Leaving Massena early, however, is not part of his plan.
Some people (leave early) and its the biggest waste of money they deal with, Manning said. Id love to go to Clarkson or SLU or something, somewhere around here maybe. It varies.
Said Trimboli, This year and next year will be huge in which way he goes. Hes not done growing yet and well see how he adjusts to that. If he can do good stuff off the ice, as far as weight training and getting the quick feet, hands and mind going, he has the potential to do some great things. Hes a tremendous kid to coach, a great kid on and off the ice. He gets it. Hes sensible from a team-building aspect.