Article by Carmen Spagnuolo
Scott Kimiecik is a 17-year-old senior attending Randolph High School and will be preparing for graduation this approaching June 2018. He is also in the midst of playing his last midget short season for the New Jersey Freeze Hockey Club. Scott has the distinction of being one of the few longest continuous members of the New Jersey Freeze organization to date. He has worked his way up through the program and levels for the last 12 years and currently plays as a goalie on both the 18UAA Black squad and the 18U Frozen Tide team.
In November, Scott will begin his final high school season in net for the Randolph Rams varsity squad who play in the competitive Mennen Division in the Morris County Secondary Schools Ice Hockey League. As with his travel club, he worked his way up from playing JV in his freshman year to being rostered on the varsity squad sophomore and junior year. He looks forward in helping the team continue their perennial run toward division success and state playoffs this coming season.
Scott wasn’t always a goalie. He transitioned to the position by chance (and by necessity). He began his early hockey tenure skating as a defenseman. While participating in a NY Rangers shootout tournament challenge at a local arena with his friend, he partnered up with his shooting buddy and played goalie to complete the duo team. Scott had played goalie often while playing street hockey with his friends, enjoyed it and always did well. They won the local tournament which earned them an invite to compete in between periods at a Madison Square Garden game in NYC, where they made a strong run and came close to winning. While being interviewed on ice displayed over the Jumbotron, Scott commented to the host that he wasn’t even a goalie. The host surprised, asked why not, and Scott commented, “because my parents didn’t want to pay for the pads”, which had the sold-out crowd at the Garden laughing. It prompted his family to seriously consider his new-found passion. While entering his first year at the peewee level, there was a need for a goalie, Scott gave it a shot, competed in tryouts, earned a spot as netminder and hasn’t looked back since.
First inspired to begin playing hockey after attending NJ Devils games with his dad in his early youth, Scott entered the Aspen Ice Cross-Ice Hockey program and honed his skills and playing awareness, which prepared him for full ice play. He was previously taught how to skate by his mom Kelly, who has also graciously served as the Freeze manager for the majority of his teams over the years. After Cross-Ice, Scott moved into the mite level of the Freeze program and has continued working hard up the ranks.
When Scott was asked about one of his most memorable experiences with the Freeze, he reminisced about winning the NJYHL State Championship with the 2008-2009 Mite Blue team (yes, when full ice was still played at that level!). Scott skated as a defenseman on that squad. He still recalls the details of the game, being down 2 – 0 early on, only to come back with five unanswered goals to win the game and championship. He also reflected on great memories of his first coach, Jourdan Ozga, and how many of the players from that team found great success in hockey as they matured into the higher levels. He remains friends with players from that team, which is a testament to the game and how strong relationships and comraderies are developed. Successes can also come with disappointments. Scott commented about his run at the 16UAA level just a couple seasons ago and how they came only one goal short of losing their chance to win division title, which placed them in a tougher playoff position and eventually knocked them out of contention. Sometimes the puck just doesn’t bounce your way in the game of hockey.
When asked what he feels are important characteristics to be a successful goalie, he replied, “Confidence, composure and a having a short memory is huge as a goalie. You can never lose your cool. A large part of the game is the mental aspect and you must remain focused, composed and unfazed even when scored on. Once you have confidence in yourself, you can get into the head or under the skin of your competition and throw off their game.” He reiterated that even if you let in a bad goal, it is the next shot and the next save that matters. Having a short memory (and very thick skin) certainly helps. Scott enjoys being the last line of defense and being relied on to make the important saves that are required to help his team earn wins. It is the thrill of the position that continues to drive him and feed his passion.
During the spring, Scott enjoys playing varsity lacrosse for Randolph High School. He has been the starting goalie on the team for the past two seasons and looks to compete in a strong final senior season. He finds the sport to be a great cross over in training and has many similarities to hockey. When he is off the field and ice, Scott focuses his time and effort on academics. He prides himself on being an honor roll student. He also likes to volunteer his time to help teach the Dare Devils, which are children with special needs learning to play hockey out of South Mountain arena.
Scott aspires to pursue a degree in the field of engineering in college. He has interests in many areas of the engineering discipline including environmental sciences, mechanical and electrical. He is currently eyeing a few schools including Moravian College, Alfred University and Scranton University. He would like to play lacrosse for their programs and if time allows, would also enjoy playing club ice hockey. His future career ambition is to own and operate his own engineering firm. Scott would like to eventually give back to the hockey community and would enjoy coaching a hockey team in his spare time.
The New Jersey Freeze wishes Scott the best of success in finishing up his club season, and to his upcoming high school season. Good luck in all your future college and career endeavors!
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