If anyone knows losing isn't easy, it’s senior captain Sean O’Halloran who has been goalkeeper for the East Boston Jets hockey team since he was a freshman. Last year was tough as the Jets finished their season with only four wins and 16 losses. What’s even worse, says O’Halloran, is that many of the losses were by one goal.
“I’d rather lose by ten goals than one,” O’Halloran said. “When it’s that one, you keep thinking about it, trying to figure out how you can get it back.
“It haunts you.”
Last season the Jets lost 1-0 to Nashoba Valley Tech, Trinity Catholic and Latin Academy – all in a row. They lost by one again, 3-2, to Cape Cod Tech, Mystic Valley and Fenway.
Those close losses weren’t easy for O’Halloran, who believes that he was responsible for the single goals that determined the losses.
“When we versed Fenway I had 50 saves but all I could think about is that I wish I had 51,” he said. “ I just wanted to play those teams again and prove we could beat them.”
Now that O’Halloran is a senior, he wants revenge for his last year on the ice. The Jets are 1-2, leaving plenty of time for improvement. O’Halloran believes there is no time to waste, however, and has already started making changes.
“To get more wins we need to improve on goal scoring, defense, offense, everything,” he said. “Also as a captain I make sure to keep the boys in line in school and on the ice.
He said another reason the Jets had a tough season last year was because many players weren’t doing well in school. This year, he’s making sure it doesn’t happen again.
“I make sure they’re always in class keeping their grades up and getting to practice on time.”
In addition to keeping the team in line, he’s also making sure his goaltending skills are top notch.
“I’m working hard on rebound control and just pushing myself every day to do better in practice,” O’Halloran said. “My coach isn’t too hard on me because he knows I’m hard on myself.”
In addition to longtime coach Robert Anthony, East Boston has also recruited David Hunt, manager of the Eastie rink, to ensure the Jets have their best season yet. He said both coaches help the team improve simply by going over the basics, working on systems and breakouts.
“When he’s focused. he plays like gangbusters,” Anthony said. “When he steps his game up, the other boys capitalize on that.
“The strength of the team is from goaltending on out.”
It’s especially important for O’Halloran to improve and finish his career on a good note because of the hockey culture in his hometown, Charlestown.
“Growing up in Charlestown, you’re pretty much pushed to play hockey,” said O’Halloran, who has been playing since he was seven years old. “Everyone knows each other in the hockey community and kids only two years older than me are getting drafted into the NHL.
“It pushes me to work hard to succeed every day.”
After graduation, O’Halloran hopes to attend a college where he can play in the highest division possible. He knows that a successful season this year could get him closer to his ultimate goal.
“I think one thing every game: I might never get to do this again,” he said of being a goalkeeper. “I’m going to push my team every day and make it clear that winning is our goal.
“This season, instead of losing by one, we’re going to win by one.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.