Stonebraker skating into leader role with Mustang hockey
After losing ten players to graduation from last season's team, the Plum hockey team didn't have to look far for someone to step up.
Junior David Stonebraker – head coach Dave Stonebraker's son – leads the Mustangs with 28 points including 16 goals, which places him fifth in scoring at the PIHL Class AA level.
“I wouldn't put it all on myself. I would have to say my linemates Dillon (Joyce) and Joey (Randazzo) have helped me out. I know where Joey is going to be and he knows where I will be. I'm just trying to help the team in any way I can and not be a selfish player.”
Stonebraker, who recorded 25 points last season, started off the season strong with back-to-back hat tricks against Moon and Latrobe in late October.
Stonebraker's play with the combination of linemate of Joe Randazzo has allowed the Mustangs to get off to a 6-3-2 record. The Mustangs are in first-place in the Section 4-AA, four points ahead of Latrobe.
Stonebraker still knows the team's success isn't just on his line's back. For the team to go further in the PIHL playoffs, the Mustangs as a team have to all buy in to the team's system.
But, Stonebraker likes to play against Franklin Regional, as he has recorded 11 points, including five goals, in two games.
“Mainly, we are a really young. But during practices we have been able to perfect our system and run our system during games,” Stonebraker said. “The main thing is that we have been able to play the system and we haven't had to change things around. All my teammates have been playing well and contributing to the team.”
With the limited varsity experience on the Mustangs, Stonebraker has been thrusted into more of a leadership role this season.
With the loss of Andrew Walters to graduation, Stonebraker, who is an assistant captain, has tried to model his leadership style after Walters.
“I played with Andrew since I was a kid,” Stonebraker said. “When he was captain, he never said anything negative about anyone and would provide constructive criticism to teammates. I want to lead the team in that way.”
Even with a young team, Stonebraker believes the Mustangs can be in the conversation for PIHL Class AA champion. According to Stonebraker, if the Mustangs stay healthy, unlike last season's team, the Penguins Cup could be achieved.
“Anything can happen at any spur of the moment. We just mainly need to control what we can control and play until the end,” Stonebraker said. “I mean everyone's goal in high school is a Penguins Cup. We can do it if we keep it up. But, we need to play the best we can. All our call-up's are doing a great job in filling in spots and doing our jobs.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.