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Londonderry delighted to learn that Owen Carey is pretty good at hockey, too

Jan. 9—MIKE BEARS jokes that he was the last person to know, but he was plenty excited when he found out.

Bears, the head coach of the Londonderry High School boys hockey team, heard from one of his assistant coaches, who heard from one of their players, that Owen Carey was joining the Lancers this winter.

Carey, an All-Division I First Team selection in baseball last spring, decided to play hockey for Londonderry his senior season after committing to Division I Rutgers for baseball.

A center fielder in baseball and forward in hockey, Carey played for the Hudson-based Northern Cyclones junior team his first three years of high school.

"Right away at tryouts, really, I was impressed," Bears said of Carey before Londonderry's practice at Tri-Town Ice Arena last Thursday. "I had heard he was a good player but seeing him, I was like, 'OK, yep, he definitely is.'"

Carey, who scored the game-tying run in Londonderry's 4-3, eight-inning win over rival Pinkerton Academy in the NHIAA Division I final last year, spent most of his hockey career playing in the Cyclones organization. He started playing baseball at 3 years old and hockey at 6.

Bears said Carey has the skill to play college hockey if he did not choose baseball.

"I just love them both," Carey said. "It could have been any sport. I just love to compete."

At first, Bears said, Carey had to get used to the differences between juniors and high school hockey namely the level of play and physicality. The skills Carey developed while playing for the Cyclones, Bears said, helped him contribute for the Lancers right away.

Carey has four goals and two assists for undefeated Londonderry (4-0) as it prepares for its bout at Pinkerton (4-1) on Wednesday night (8:10) at the Ice Den.

While playing for the Cyclones, Carey said he learned to work hard, the importance of communicating with his teammates and a desire to get the puck and make an impact.

Carey has mostly skated alongside Michael Maloney, a senior center, and senior wing Matthew Boyon. While Boyon has been out with an injury recently, Maloney and Carey have been skating with sophomore Brendan Fitzgerald.

Maloney, who grew up playing against Carey within the Cyclones organization, said Carey gives his teammates confidence.

"A lot more guys this year you're seeing do stuff you wouldn't think," Maloney said. "He's just bringing out new players in guys because he makes everyone around him better."

Carey said that he, Maloney and Boyon instantly had chemistry when they were put together on a line. The three always know where one other are on the ice, Maloney said.

Carey said he tries to bring scoring to the line but if one of his linemates is having a better game, he makes sure to feed them the puck. "Whatever I need to do, whatever coach wants me to do, I'll just do it," he said.

That line, Bears said, has been a motor for Londonderry.

"When they get going and they're playing at their best in the offensive zone, they're really hard to stop," Bears said. "They've got a lot of speed. They're good at working the puck down low. I think no matter who we play will have a hard time with that line when they're doing their thing."

While Carey does not wear a letter, he is a natural leader, Bears said.

Londonderry's young players look up to Carey, who said he leads by example. Carey's advice to his younger teammates is not to be scared and play with confidence.

Carey is a competitor but also knows how to keep the mood light, Bears said.

"He's been a really good teammate," Bears said. "He competes really hard. He's been bringing up the level of everyone on the team so it's been good."

ahall@unionleader.com