Three years ago, the Mansfield Hockey Association’s varsity team finished its season 0-20. That same season, the JV squad won a title. The following year, those underclassmen, armed with a new coach, set out on a reclamation project — one that ended this past week with a City Championship in the Varsity Silver division.
After dominating the regular season with a 15-2-1 record, 10 points clear of second-place Plano East and Flower Mound/Marcus, Mansfield finished the job by cruising through the City Championship playoff tournament, winning both games by a combined 13-2.
Head Coach Steve Schneider had some idea as early as last fall that his club could be this good this season.
“There was no doubt we had a special group here, for sure,” he said. “I could just tell we would be one of the top teams.”
Not one of the top teams, as it turns out, but the top team.
Holding that trophy over my head as the captain of that team was the best feeling of my entire life so far. It’s incomparable. It was an honor to captain these guys this year and it was an amazing way to go out.
- Senior Lonnie Hannah
Senior Lonnie Hannah served as captain of the club. He was a freshmen on the aforementioned JV championship team, and after watching the varsity go winless that season, he set out to change the course of Mansfield hockey in his time there.
“I don’t think it’s quite completely hit me yet,” Hannah said. “I’ve been with this program since eighth grade. Since then, this has been my dream and this had been what I’ve been working toward. For everything to kind of click this year, especially with the guys we lost.”
The guys lost he refers to were a couple of seniors who moved away from high school hockey for full-time club play. But Mansfield had plenty left to lean on this season.
It started in goal with Cole Seevers and Reese Blaha. Both posted goals-against averages under 2 for the season (the only goalies in the league to do so) while sharing minutes. Seevers was named Goaltender of the Year in the Silver Division.
At the other end, Nicholas Cyprian and Harris Milson finished first and tied for second, respectively, in the division for total points scored. Cyprian, just a freshman, had 44 points during the season. Both Cyprian and Milson finished with 20 goals, which was third-best in the league.
“We had a lot of guys who could put points up,” Schneider said.
The coach said he saw the potential in this team even before taking over three years ago, which was why he was interested in the job.
“I saw the young talent they had and wanted to work with them and develop them. Sure enough, it paid off.”
For the team’s five seniors, high school hockey couldn’t have ended much better.
“It’s just an unbelievable feeling,” Hannah said. “Holding that trophy over my head as the captain of that team was the best feeling of my entire life so far. It’s incomparable. It was an honor to captain these guys this year and it was an amazing way to go out.”