Q&A with Ithaca High Hockey Coach Paul Zarach


The 2018-2019 Ithaca High School hockey season is underway and the Little Red look to continue to grow and improve their record behind the play of veterans who have developed and are ready to make a season to remember. With a 22-game regular season slate ahead of them, the team sharpened the skates and shook off the rust with three preseason scrimmages. After an opening 4-3 win on the road over New Hartford, the team is ready to improve on last year’s finish.

Mark Shelley: The team has been in a bit of a rebuild the last few years but were able to greatly improve last season. What is the confidence level like coming off of a 11-10-0 season?
Paul Zarach: The confidence going into this season is pretty strong. Last year we had a good run at the end of the season and came up short. This year we are looking to pick up where we left off. We have a senior-heavy group of kids that returned from last year and they are taking the lead and setting the examples of what work needs to be done to have a successful season.

MS: What type of leadership are you looking for out of your experienced captains?
PZ: The captains are taking ownership as are the others on the team in practices and games. They are pushing the kids to give it their all every drill and shift. It is nice to see them take on the leadership roles and support the boys on the team.

MS: How important is it to get the three scrimmages at the beginning of the season?
PZ: The scrimmages are important for the team to work on things and to see what we need to focus on in practice to prepare for the regular season.

MS: You have quite a number of games at Lynah this season. How does a college arena impact the mentality of the team?
PZ: Playing at Lynah is always a great experience. It is a special barn to watch games and to be able to play there is a fun experience for the team.

MS: Your leading scorer, Michael Sornberger, returns for his senior season. How will he help dictate the offensive zone play?
PZ: Michael has improved each season since freshman year. We are looking to see him continue to develop and help our offense across the board. His style of play is contagious and makes others step up their play as well.

MS: What changes have been made that have worked the program back to its winning ways?
PZ: We really have not made any major changes to the program to help it get back to its winning ways. We were young the last several years and the players have grown and developed which helps us compete on a nightly basis. Having older kids always helps a program do well. They have experience and use that in leadership and example ways.


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