Lyman Hall’s Jack Roberts wins Hockey Player of the Year with defense

Although Jack Roberts’ accomplishments at one end of the ice showed in box scores every night, his coach continued to point to what Lyman Hall boys’ senior hockey captain Roberts was doing in the defensive part of the ice.

“That’s how he bought into the system,” Dave Sagnella said. “Every team, I was talking to the other coach, (and they were saying) ‘offence, offence, offence. He was very underestimated how good he was in our D zone.”

A young Roberts got time on the penalty kill for his teams.

“I brought this to high school,” he said. “I tried to be one of the best in plus/minus.”

Sagnella said Roberts had a plus-48 rating this season. Roberts also scored 83 points for the Division II conference finalist and CIAC semifinalist Trojans. He is the GameTimeCT and New Haven Register Player of the Year.

“He was never the first out of the box,” Sagnella said, noting some other big scorers might choose a breakaway or flee the box early for a scoring chance.

“He was a third defender. The wingers were getting the puck out and he was joining the rush.

And while scoring 189 points in four years, Sagnella said, he took just five penalties with a work ethic second to none.

Roberts said watching a movie after his sophomore and junior years showed him he was not up to snuff in the defensive zone. He said he was slacking off.

“I noticed I needed to be a little more aggressive down there,” Roberts said.

In four years, he developed his skating and speed after being one of the slowest players in his first year.

That didn’t limit him as a freshman: he played on the front row of a team that won the Division III championship alongside his brother, Kyle, who scored more than 200 points in his career. , and Matt Pettit.

“They are two great hockey players. He was up to the task,” said Sagnella, who was an assistant coach that season before rising to the top job the following season.

“In the second year, we made the jump to Division II. He stepped up his game. The junior year was what, 10 games. We talked before this year: ‘You are the man of this year.'”

Roberts has scored 38 goals in 25 games this season. He assisted 45 others. He was involved in more than two-thirds of the Trojans’ 121 goals. In their state tournament opener against Guilford, Roberts scored seven points.

“His hockey IQ is off the charts,” Sagnella said. “You said something to him once, and he learned from it.

“He made everyone he played with better.”

Roberts is still deciding his future. He has a few colleges he’s considering, where he could play junior hockey.

He’s a forward for the Lyman Hall lacrosse team.

“They’re both pretty physical sports,” Roberts said. “In hockey, the aggressiveness that you have to have really helps with lacrosse. Lacrosse, speed carries over to hockey. They help each other a lot. »

Lacrosse could also be a college route for him; he was second-team All-SCC last year as a junior.

During hockey season, the Connecticut High School Hockey Association named him State Player of the Year. He was first-team all-state, first-team all-conference.

“Like I keep telling him,” Sagnella said, “he deserved it.”

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; @fornabaioctp

Catherine J. Martinez