Although the Montclair State men’s ice hockey team’s regular season is over, senior left wing Michael Buckel and freshman goaltender Danny Porth still have a few games to play.
They will be competing in the 2019 American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) All-Star Challenge representing the Super East Collegiate Hockey League (SECHL).
Buckel was third on the team in points this past season, scoring 13 goals for the Red Hawks as well as three assists. He served as an alternate captain alongside captains Lucas Prospero, Daniel Diner and Michael Nordstrom. Buckel played three years for Montclair State, totaling 49 points in 70 games played. This will be his first appearance in the All-Star Challenge.
“I’m very excited to lace them up one last time representing our league and Montclair State by playing against the other league’s all stars from around the country,” Buckel said. “This is a great way to end my college career.”
Porth is one of the few freshman to qualify for the games. He put up a .924 save percentage in his 15 games played for Montclair State this season, with a final record of 7-6-2. He came to play for the Red Hawks after taking gap years to play junior hockey.
“No matter if you are a freshman or a fifth-year senior you never expect to be chosen for something like this,” Porth said. “My goal coming into the season was to contribute, however that may be, to make the Red Hawks program better. A goaltender being selected is much less an individual achievement than it is a teams’ and I am just happy I was able to do my part to help this team win hockey games.”
The last time any Montclair State players have made the All-Star challenge was two years ago, with alumni Sam Enright and Chris Preziosi representing the Red Hawks.
Buckel and Porth have both had successful seasons and are now being rewarded for it. With Porth making the games as a freshman, it proves that the team’s large freshman class this season is a talented one.
Buckel and Porth emphasized how them being selected for the All-Star challenge is not just an individual effort but a team one. The two have worked together along with their other teammates to play every game at their hardest.
“Very rarely is a goaltender an all-star without the immense support of their teammates around them,” Porth said. “A big contributor to a goalie’s success is just how well they practice.”
Porth further explained why this accomplishment was a team effort.
“When you have a team full of guys pushing you to do better day in and day out, it makes it easy giving that extra effort in practice, and it is directly translated into the performance on game days,” Porth said. “Whether it be your teammates scoring that one extra goal to make you more comfortable, or your defense bailing you out of a bad situation, no goalie is in this position without his teammates.”
Although the team did not have a season they particularly liked, going into the All-Star challenge with two players representing the Red Hawks will show the rest of the leagues there that the team does have talent.
“The boys helped by pushing each other in games and practices to make you the best player you can be,” Buckel said.
The series of games will take place in Westchester, Pennsylvania at Ice Line Quad Rinks over the weekend of April 11.