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West Hempstead teen leads St. Mary’s Gaels on the ice

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St. Mary’s High School junior Shane Ahlers, of West Hempstead, was one of the key players on their hockey team who helped them find success on the ice. St. Mary’s Gaels finished their 2018 season with a record of 2-14-2. This season, Ahlers helped the team to finish with a winning record, and they won the Catholic High School Hockey League B Division championship.

“Our team came into this season with a different attitude,” Ahlers, 16, said. “We played with more hope than the year before, and as we got more players on our team, it created a new atmosphere. We really changed the momentum of the team.”

Ahlers, who led the team in goals with 20 to go along with 17 assists, said that this championship meant a lot to Brother Kenneth Robert, a longtime faculty member and athletic director at St. Mary’s whose leadership led to numerous league championships and state titles. Ahlers said that the biggest improvement in his game was to become a better playmaker.

“Understanding the game more and the way the puck should move across the ice is what I focused on the most,” Ahlers said. “Being able to see the ice really helped my game a lot, too.”

In addition to his high school squad, Ahlers also plays travel team hockey for the PAL Jr. Islanders. He had the opportunity to scrimmage against the Women’s National Team in March. He said that their fast-paced style of play was new to him, but he learned a few things that could help to improve his game.

“They showed a lot team chemistry on the ice, and I think that’s something I can build on with my teammates,” he said.

Although the team is losing a few players who will graduate this year, Alhers said that he is confident about the team moving forward.

“I hope to carry on what we started,” Ahlers said. “We’ll continue to work hard for what we want, and continue to build our team development.”