"Next man up” is a common phrase used in athletics, signifying that the team is stronger than any individual. When one player is missing, another needs to be able to step into his place and produce. Missing players is not an excuse for subpar team performance.
It wasn’t a stretch, however, to have believed Mahwah wouldn’t be as strong in the 2018-19 season as it was in previous years.
A state tournament semifinalist three years ago and a quarterfinalist each of the past two seasons, Mahwah was missing some key pieces early this season. Mahwah head coach Brad Segall noted that goaltender Brody Selman moved to Omaha, Neb., to play for the Omaha AAA Hockey Club, and Mitchell Hansen, who scored six goals and added five assists in the 2017-18 season, transferred to a parochial school.
Add in a broken hand for top scorer Kevin Johnston and even Segall wasn’t sure how his team would respond. He received an answer in the form of a 15-win season and another trip to the state tournament.