Ice hockey certainly ranks as a fast, rugged and highly competitive game. These very qualities appealed to Jake Machlovitz, senior captain of the Pennsbury entry in the Suburban High School Ice Hockey League.
Jake first entered the ice hockey wars at an early age. “I started playing around the age of nine. I quit baseball and started playing hockey. I decided to play hockey because I got bored. I started playing in New Jersey and my original entry was an in-house league where I learned the basics. A year later I went to play travel and went from there.”
As a hockey novice Jake had to learn all the game’s intricacies such as skating, handling the puck and mastering the rules. From his standpoint the toughest part was, “Learning to keep my head up.”
Basics mastered, Jake was ready to join ranks with the Pennsbury scholastic team and the Lawrence Flames, his club team based in New Jersey. There he experienced a real bonding effect. “The main appeal of hockey is just playing with the team. Playing with a bunch of guys for awhile and calling them more than friends. I’ve been playing with the Pennsbury seniors since I was a freshman. So, these guys I’m really close to.”
A four-year veteran, Jake carries an extra set of responsibilities. “My position is center but I’ve been an assistant captain since my sophomore year. I try to lead by example and lead by voice.”
This year Jake has added an extra weapon to his hockey arsenal. He has assumed more of the scoring burden. “This year I’m scoring more, not so in previous years. I’m feeling good coming off my club season. I’m bigger and stronger. I feel good moving on the ice with all the guys who are like my brothers.”
Jake hopes his efforts will help Pennsbury become a more potent league force. Last year they finished with a 6-7-3 record. This year the prospects look much brighter. “I’d say it’s a completely different team than in previous years. The guys really come to play. There’s more a level of focus in the locker room than in previous years. We’re very balanced this year.”
The increased concentration should help the Falcons reach their season goals. “I’m looking forward to going to playoffs and the Flyer’s Cup like last year but this year win some games. We want to finish as high a seed as we can in the standings and win playoffs. That would be a great way to end my senior year.”
In their first two games this season Pennsbury has dominated Wisahickon by a 7-0 margin and then followed up with an 8-0 thrashing of Souderton.
In the Wisahickon tussle Jake scored two goals. He was followed by single goal efforts from Reece Millman, Andrew Falkenstein, Ben Dous, Connor Coyne, and Brendan Macainsh. Against Souderton Jake once again found the back of the enemy net for a solo tally. Beau Brusius-Yedman and Reece Millman lead the assault on the Indians with two goals apiece. Dous, Macainsh, and Falkenstein all added to the Falcon total with single goals.
Jake felt the Souderton contest showed how dominant Pennsbury can be this season. They recorded 47 shots-on-goal to 10 for Souderton. “We had a good mental attitude going into this game. They were the same skill level but we took it away pretty quickly. They only had ten shots on our goal.”
The Falcons have obviously made the best of their limited practice time. Rink availability only grants them one practice a week for an hour and a half. “We work on battling each other and doing a lot of high intensity drills. We’d like to have more practices but we only have one a week so we try and make the most of it.”
Jake knows the intensity will remain high when Pennsbury faces such league powerhouses as Neshaminy and Central Bucks South. “We play CB South next week and that’s going to be a tough one. We play Neshaminy in the Thanksgiving Classic game. The Gannon Cup is at stake. That’s the most fun game of the year. Last year, we sold out the rink. There were tons of Neshaminy and Pennsbury kids there.”
These games should provide Jake with plenty a thrilling moment. He feels the Falcons are ready to meet the challenge.