SYRACUSE While ice hockey is played in three periods, Corcoran has arrived at halftime in its league schedule on solid ground.
The Cougars skated into yesterday’s nonleague game against Ithaca at 9-4 overall and 4-2 in the seven-team Division 1 West. From here on out, Corcoran has six league games remaining, starting with a home tussle against Baldwinsville Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m.
As of this past Monday, the Cougars’ league mark placed them second in the competitive D-1 West. First-year head coach John Purcell praised his charges when he was asked to sum up his team’s first half.
“What struck me at the first practice was that we were going to have good senior leadership, and that’s carried over into the season,” Purcell said. “We’ve been in a ton of close games in our league, and it’s been the seniors who have carried us to some really nice wins.”
Three of Corcoran’s league wins have been one-goal affairs, and the fourth was a narrow 5-3 win over Liverpool. Conversely, the locals’ two losses in-league were also by a goal.
“Every game is going to be a battle, which is great; you just hope you’re on the right side of the score when they’re over,” Purcell joked. “We do have great seniors, but we also start an eighth-grader in goal and two freshmen on defense, so it’s my job to make sure they are prepared for some tough games coming up, and to not think we’ll duplicate what we did in the first half without hard work.”
Purcell coached several of his current players in Valley youth leagues. His past experience made the transition smoother in taking over for Mark Caron, who left the team for personal reasons.
“I’ve been coaching younger guys in the Valley since 1996, and I was real familiar with about half of the players we have right now before starting at Corcoran,” Purcell said. “Coach Caron has built a successful program, and I hope to continue down that path.”