After a season of squeakers, Malvern’s boys hockey team scored a roaring 4-1 victory over Silverthorn CI on March 4 to win the city championship.
It was the Black Knights’ first banner win in boys hockey since 2005.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” said head coach and Malvern teacher Doug Underwood, noting how well the team came together in their last few games before the final.
“All these guys are good hockey players,” said Underwood. “It’s just a matter of getting them on the same page.”
Team captain Alex Mighton agrees.
Malvern’s forward lines had good chemistry all year, he said, but only in the last three or four playoff games did they and the defence get really good at cycling the puck in the opponents’ end.
“We all worked together to get the job done,” said Mighton.
That team effort certainly showed on the score sheet in the final. Malvern won with four goals from four players: Alex Mathers, Dallas Carter, Mark Wilson and Tevin John.
As for goaltending, both Underwood and Mighton said in a season of one-goal games, starting goalie Chris Manjuris played a huge role.
“He was one of the main reasons we’ve been winning so much,” said Mighton.
Besides his strong, stand-up style goaltending, he said Manjuris likes to play the puck, helping Malvern to quickly clear their zone.
A centre who first joined the Black Knights in Grade 9, Mighton was one of just four seniors on the team this year.
“It’s impressive. We won the city championship with a pretty young team,” he said, adding that it bodes well for Malvern’s chances next year. The school is also looking strong on the girls’ side – just before the boys got on the ice for their final at North Toronto Arena, the Malvern girls finished second in their city championship with a narrow 2-0 loss to arch rivals Lawrence Park.
Mighton spoke to Beach Metro News shortly before the team moved on from city finals to the provincial tournament in Oakville, where this week they will face top high school teams from public, Catholic and private schools across Ontario.
“It’s not over yet, but it’s been a really great year, great coaching, great overall attitude for the team,” he said. “It’s definitely one of the best hockey teams I’ve been a part of.”