By Sam Kombrink
The Rockhurst High School club hockey team will look to start fresh in the postseason, as it capped off its regular season falling 3-2 to the KC Saints on Saturday Feb. 11, at Line Creek Community Center and Ice Arena bringing its regular season record to 8-12-2.
“A tough loss where we gave up three goals in the third,” said Rockhurst coach Delaney O’Rourke. “We had an injury to our number one defensemen Saturday. So, it was a tough adjustment.”
Number 8-seeded Rockhurst will face Number 9-seeded Springfield (4-15-2) in the opening round of the Mid America High School Hockey League Playoffs. Puck drop is set for 7 a.m. Saturday Feb. 18 at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence.
“The team has come along really well,” O’Rourke noted. “We fight a unique battle at Rockhurst because of fall sport involvement, and we are the only ‘High School’ team in the league. The other teams are region based teams.”
Players’ involvement in other sports has created obstacles.
“We had two swimmers win state championships that kept them away from the team until after the pre-season, and we had a soccer player get injured while winning state as well, which kept him away until January,” said O’Rourke.
“These unique barriers lead us to focus on development early, and build into our best hockey when we have a full roster near the end of the year. We hope to go far in this year’s playoffs.”
Senior Jack Kenner led the Hawklets and the MAHSHL with 21 assists. Combining goals and assists, Kenner is third in the league with 34 points this season. Sophomore Michael Torlina leads the league in goals from a defensemen with nine.
Junior Hayes Holmes led the Hawklets with 22 goals scored, while finishing second in the MAHSHL.
O’Rourke finished his fifth season as Varsity head coach, and his 10th season overall coaching Rockhurst High School club hockey. O’Rourke also played for the Hawklets from 2004-2008.
After graduating from playing collegiate hockey at Saint Louis University in December of 2012, O’Rourke found his way back to the ice rink to embark on his coaching career as a volunteer coach for Rockhurst in January of 2013.
“I knew from the moment I left Rockhurst that I wanted to return to give back to the program that taught me so much,” he said.