By Kirk Luedeke
|Lawrence Academy's Devin Tringale has given his draft stock a major boost after leading his squad to a prep championship. (Dave Arnold Photography)|
A year ago, Lawrence Academy advanced to the New England Prep semifinals only to be eliminated by eventual champion Milton Academy.
This time, thanks in large part to winger Devin Tringale’s (Medford, Mass.) heroics, the Spartans closed the deal, capturing the school’s first championship in the 31-year history of the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association.
“During the season the large focus was on getting the ISL championship and then the New England (prep) championship,” Tringale told New England Hockey Journal. “It was an awesome way to finish the season.”
Tringale (pronounced Trin-GAH-lee) finished the 2011-12 season as his team’s leading goal scorer (19 in 31 games) and was second to Tyler Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.) in points with 46 to Whitney’s 47. The linemates took their games to another level when it mattered most (along with superb goaltending from Nathaniel Heilbron) to beat favored Noble and Greenough in the title game Sunday in Salem, N.H.
“It was just unbelievable,” said Tringale of his team’s run. “We were all so disappointed at the way things ended last year, so one of our mottos this season was, ‘We’re not going to be denied this time.’ It was an all-in effort and with 11 seniors on the team we got great leadership from the guys and left everything on the ice.
“We may not have been maybe the most talented team on the ice, but we gave everything we could, got two overtime wins and won the championship game by one goal, so in the end, we made the plays when it mattered most.”
Tringale also talked of his team’s decision to sport mullets or mohawks for the prep tourney, a move that, if nothing else, contributed to the group’s bonding and esprit de corps.
“It was a little testament to putting all our chips in one basket and coming together as a team to try and do something special,” he said. “I had a pretty good mullet going there -- short in the front and nice and long in the back. I just had the locks in back cut off the other day, but it was a great feeling to lose the mullet after winning the championship.”
The son of former Medford High School coach Michael Tringale is a Harvard University recruit. Though slated to arrive in Cambridge in the fall of 2013, it is not out of the question that the 2012 NHL draft prospect could make a convincing case to move the timeline up. With the Beantown Classic showcase lined up next week in Marlborough, Mass., he’ll not only get to show Harvard coach Ted Donato (Dedham, Mass.) what he’s made of, but the NHL scouts in attendance as well.
“That’s the next thing in line for me,” he said of the annual spring tournament, which brings many of the top regional prep and high school draft eligibles (and NHL draft futures in lower age groups) together for one last area competition before the NHL lottery in June. “I’ve got to get into the weight room and prepare myself for that next challenge. I’m excited because it’s going to give me a chance to show people what I can do, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Tringale’s timely production has caught the attention of scouts, who recognize some raw potential in the standout prep performer.
“I thought he was very good in some of the fall league games I saw him in,” said one NHL scout. “Devin just has a knack for getting that big goal or assist when his team needs it. He had an excellent tournament and even though he’s under the radar a bit, I think he could attract some attention for the draft.”
Although he’s closer to 6-feet in height than his listed 6-feet-1 in some circles, Tringale is a solid 195 pounds, a testament to the dedicated offseason work he does with famed strength and conditioning coach (now with the Boston Red Sox) Mike Boyle (Reading, Mass.).
“I’ve been working with (Boyle) for the past four summers,” said Tringale, who has gotten to know fellow 2012 area draft prospects such as Sam Kurker (Reading, Mass.) and Brendan Collier (Charlestown, Mass.) from their work at the same facility. “Boyle’s is an awesome environment. You’re working out with guys you compete against, testing yourself against them. It gets pretty competitive in there, and I think it’s been a great experience for me.”
His gains in strength and mass have allowed Tringale to play bigger than his size, embracing a physical style and doing effective work down low and in front of the net.
“I like to think of myself as a power forward,” he said. “I can do it in the offensive zone, but I’m conscientious in the defensive zone and on the backcheck. I think I play pretty physical overall, but I think I can improve on my hands down low and in close — my coach (Kevin Potter) says I need to shoot the puck more — and I can always get bigger, faster, stronger.”
A solid skater who has excellent vision and underrated hockey sense, Tringale prides himself on his work ethic, a factor he feels will help him sell himself to the NHL clubs he will likely interview with in the coming weeks.
“I’d like to think that I have some upside,” he said. “I’ve worked hard to get where I am and that will continue. I don’t think I’m even close to reaching my peak yet, so I feel like if an NHL team values that in a player, I can definitely be that person.”
The stalwart Bruins fan has long admired Patrice Bergeron for his two-way ability, character and hockey sense, but admits to having developed a strong liking in recent years for Brad Marchand.
If Tringale can continue to develop his offensive game and grit, he could parlay his talent and potential into a pro hockey career eventually.
“That would be a dream come true,” he said of the idea of being picked in the NHL draft. “It’s something that you dream about and work hard to achieve. It would be quite an honor.”
Until June, Tringale and his teammates will revel in a hard-earned prep championship and try to take advantage of every opportunity to put himself in position to have his name called in Pittsburgh.
Kirk Luedeke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.