It’s been a tough season for Mount Carmel, which begins the new year with a 4-10-1-1 mark and sits in seventh place in the Catholic League.
Coach Scott Sortal, however, is hoping a recently completed schedule in which the Caravan competed against elite competition will produce some dividends.
“We haven’t been getting the wins, but we’ve seen a lot of growth and better attitudes from our players,” said Sortal, in his second season as coach. “We can be a dangerous team come February.”
It’s fairly obvious what plagues Mount Carmel: a lack of scoring. The Caravan has just 36 goals in 16 Catholic League games, ranking eighth in the league.
By comparison first-place Providence has scored 96 goals and third-place St. Viator 80.
Mount Carmel senior Richard Fordon leads the team in goals with 11. He’s the lone player in double-digits. Anthony Distasio and Neil Novosel are next with six goals apiece, while Cullen Walsh has 13 points — tied with Fordon for team high.
“The guys are playing as hard as they can,” Sortal said. “The good thing is we’ve had different guys stepping up and playing their best on different nights.”
James Schackmuth, a defenseman, and goalies Martin Miloslavich and Joe Timmerman, both juniors, have played well.
Sortal inherited a middling program that lacked depth. He knows it’s going to take time to return the one-time powerhouse that boasts five state championships and 20 Kennedy Cups back to prominence.
“It’s not going to fix itself in a day,” Sortal said. “It’s a process. First and foremost, we want to bring in great people. Then the hockey will take care of itself. This is a terrific school, with a lot of great student-athletes in the hockey program. It’s a passion to get this program back to the top of the Catholic League.”
While that’s not going to happen this season, Sortal is optimistic the Caravan can still meet some of its goals.
“We’re taking it one game at a time, try to improve as a team and finish strong,” Sortal said. “The senior class has to have something to play for. If they show up and play the way we think they can, they can build the foundation for the future.”