Courtesy of the Lakeland Live Feed
The 2019-2020 Lakeland hockey season is one that will always be remembered in Lakeland ice hockey history. The Lancers, 21-4-2, advanced further than any other season in the 27 years the program has existed.
On February 12, 2020, the team advanced to the county championships. Playing against Passaic Valley/Cedar Grove, the team came to the ice ready to win. After an intense game, the Lancers won 3-0. The Lancers have officially achieved the title of county champs six times, more than any other high school in Passaic County.
The Lancers were not only successful at the county championships, but the team also won the Big North Liberty Strips division title. The team beat Ramsey 2-0 and clinched the championship. Standing as the best in their division, the team advanced to the Big North Gold Cup Championships where they played St. Joes. Even though the Lancers lost the game, they brought everything to the ice and still walked out of the rink as the best public school team in the Big North Conference.
The team also advanced farther than ever in the states playoffs this season. The team advanced to the semifinals, after their victories against Cranford and Chatham in the first two rounds. At the semifinals game,the Lancers were yet again head to head with their rivals, Ramsey, for a chance to play at the Prudential Center. As expected, it was an intense battle between the Lancers and the Rams. Unfortunately, the Lancers lost 3-0. Despite the defeat, the Lancers still advanced further than ever, making this season one to go down in Lakeland ice hockey history.
Senior and captain Matt Coiley described the season as the best he could’ve asked for. Coiley explains, “Many memories and traditions were made and the team had the tightest bond,” which helped the Lancers do as well as they did. Coiley said the 2019-2020 season is definitely one to remember based on their accomplishments.
The Lancers stayed determined and preserved through any challenges they faced this season. The team “set goals that were never out of reach” to help them progress. “There really isn’t a feeling to describe how I felt knowing my teammates had my back every step of the way,” Coiley said.
The Lancers became one of the best defensive teams in the state led by the standout goaltending of junior Ben Kopacki. Kopacki was a huge asset to the team’s many successes. He was awarded with North Jersey’s Athlete of the Week and the New Jersey Devils High School Player of the Month for December 2019.
As the season came to an end, NJ.com listed the rankings for the best high school hockey teams in the state. Overall, the Lancers were ranked as fifteenth in the state. Excluding the private high schools, the Lancers were ranked as the fifth best public school in the state.
Throughout the season, the Lancers as a team shared many highlights and memories with one another. From having “big goals on the ice” to “laughing and joking around” in the locker rooms, Coiley explained how “every moment with these guys [the team] felt like a highlight,” to him.
Overall, the Lancers had a remarkable season that will always be remembered. The Lakeland community is incredibly proud of the Lancers, and is excited to see what they will achieve in future seasons.