Although the season ended two games earlier than DeMatha Catholic High School junior goalie Kevin Mackey had hoped for when the Stags lost 7-3 to Georgetown Prep in the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League quarterfinals, he was hardly phased by the lopsided result.
DeMatha concluded the season with an 11-19-5 mark and not only did Mackey start all 35 games for the Stags this winter, he finished 34 of them with a 3.35 goals against average. Mackey did share some time with junior varsity goalie Trevor Neal, but he occupied the crease for 1,600 minutes.
“I didn't really think about it,” Mackey said about being the team's lone goalie. “I just wanted to keep getting better each game. I always wanted to get a shutout, but really I just wanted to do what I could to help us win. If we won, I tried not to get too excited about it and if we lost, I tried not to let it bother me. I just wanted to maintain the same approach each game and hope we could come out on top.”
DeMatha coach Tony MacAulay realized before the season began that Mackey would get ample time in the net, but as the season progressed, regardless of how well the Stags fared from game to game, MacAulay never saw any reason to replace his netminder. In addition to his skills in the crease, Mackey impressed MacAulay with his calm demeanor even in lopsided affairs.
“Whether we won or lost, Kevin always maintained an even keel,” MacAulay said. “He never seemed to go through the highs and lows emotionally. When we won, he usually had a solid game and when we lost, like [the MAPHL quarterfinal] you couldn't point to the goalie and say that he cost you. Three of the goals were on power plays and I think two of the other four occurred after turnovers or defensive breakdowns. Really at no point during the season did I ever feel compelled to make a change [at goalie].”
Keegan Chesnick has been a teammate of Mackey's for nearly a decade, with the two of them playing on several Bowie Bruins' club squads starting in elementary school.
“Kevin shows up to play every night and he never gets upset,” Chesnick said. “That's what I like most about playing with him. Some goalies let their emotions get the better of them. But he doesn't let the score effect the way he plays. Tonight we didn't give him any help. They had a lot of power play chances. When that happens teams are going to score and you can't blame the goalie.”
Mackey played all but 22 minutes in the net for the Stags this season and he is expected to return to the same role next winter. But Mackey understands that the Stags will have to begin grooming his replacement at some point.
“I like playing, but I haven't given it much thought,” Mackey said about sitting occasionally. “I want to keep playing and keep getting better. Having the chance to start every game this year was great. But I know that isn't going to always be the case. When they need me, I'm going to do my best.”