These are good, fun times for the Central Indiana Knights. They could get even better.
The Knights, a hockey team made up of players from Cathedral High School and other Central Indiana high schools, won a state title in 2021-2022 and is moving forward strongly in ’22-23.
The Knights are also strong enough to compete at the highest level.
“We’re playing really well,” Knights Head Coach Rob Pozzebon said.
The Knights as of early-to-mid January had won 13 of their last 14 games. They were 6-2 in the Hoosier Championship League, with a strong foursome of Cathedral players important to the team’s success.
“We had a little bit of a slow start, but once we got everybody in the lineup and got everybody rolling, we've been playing really well,” Pozzebon said.
The Knights, after being the Class 2A runners-up in 2020-2021, won the Indiana Class 3A title in 2021-2022. High school hockey in Indiana classifies teams based on regular season entering the state tournament, with the strongest teams in Class 4A, the next strongest in Class 3A and so on.
Pozzebon said the Knights have a very real chance to play in the Class 4A tournament in 2022-2023.
“I think this year we'll end up in the top bracket,” he said. “I have no doubt that if we play our best hockey, we can win a 4A state title. It doesn't always play out that way, but we’re good enough.”
Cathedral players for the ’22-23 Knights:
*Senior forward and captain Max Goodburn. A goal and five assists in six Hoosier League games. “He's one of our biggest leaders,” Pozzebon said. “I think he's our best team player. He doesn't put up all the points he has in the past, but we don't rely on him to do that, and he understands that as well. He has played great hockey and he has played his best over the last few weeks, which is kind of indicative of how he plays. He plays best when the games are most important. I can't say enough good things about Max.”
*Senior forward Will McCormick. One goal in five Hoosier League games. “Will is just a beast,” Pozzebon said. “He's maybe the strongest guy we have on the team. He scores timely goals. Will's been playing some great hockey lately, and my guess is that his best is ahead for him.”
*Junior forward Jack Bedich (check). One goal and three assists in eight Hoosier League games.
*Junior forward Grant Goodburn. Two goals and an assist in eight Hoosier League games. “He has stepped up his game,” Pozzebon said. “He's a real valuable part of our our top three lines.”
*Sophomore forward Charles McCormick. Two goals in three Hoosier League games.
The 2022-2023 Knights are an experienced team with 16 of 20 players upperclassmen – eight juniors and eight seniors – with multiple players who have been on the roster throughout Pozzebon’s three seasons as head coach.
Pozzebon said the experience allows the coaches to coach at a “higher level.”
“We don't have to worry about getting kids to do the little things,” he said. “They kind of self-manage that and manage each other. There’s an expectation amongst the team to play a certain way, to hold themselves accountable to a certain level.
“As coaches, we get to coach more of the team level, how to make us better against other teams, how to make up gaps when maybe we have a deficiency against a certain opponent. We can worry about that rather than having to get a kid to do something specific you already know about.”
Key for the Knights, Pozzebon said, will be playing consistently no matter the opponent.
“When you're talking about teams in the state, there's probably eight-to-10 really competitive opponents, then there's some that sort of fall below that level,” Pozzebon said. “That's not a knock on the other teams, it's just the level of every team is different every year. Just like us: There were years where we were Class 2A, 3A Class 4A, then next year we won't be as good.
“The challenge for our team is to get up and play against teams that we really should beat. That’s been a challenge, and we’ve played our best hockey against our best competition.”
Pozzebon said whatever the postseason result, this has been a memorable and enjoyable season for an experienced team capable of winning big in the coming weeks and months.
“They're a great group of kids,” Pozzebon said. “We practice three times a week and I love going to practice every night. There hasn't been a day when I didn't want to get up and go to the rink with these guys. They're fun to be around.
“I always talk about culture. The culture's been fantastic. The kids are supportive of each other and it's just, it's fun to be around.”