Mishko, Kids hope to make title run
Three years ago, Gunnar Mishko was able to celebrate a championship with his older brother Austin as members of Northampton's entry in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL).
Now, three years later, the younger Mishko wants to leave the program with another championship in the LVSHL Non-Pure division as well as the league's overall crown. It would be the first title for the program since both brothers celebrated three years ago.
But all is not right in the Kids' kingdom.
Recognized as a perennial league power and a Non-Pure Division favorite, Northampton has an overall 6-6-1 mark (13 points), a record that can easily be considered subpar for the program.
Still, it is good enough for first place in the division as they have a one-point lead over Easton (6-6-0, 12 points) and hold a lead over them in divisional games (6-2 to 5-4).
"I really don't know what it is," said Mishko, who leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and 10 assists for 25 points which is 18th overall in league scoring. "We just don't have the chemistry yet. But we do have a bunch of new guys this season and we're all trying to get it together. We have a number of guys who have been here for a while.
"We have the confidence to put together a nice run."
Mishko is confident he can end a career that began when he was two years old when his parents Michele and Jim introduced him to the game.
"My mom tells me who she put me on the ice when I was two," recalled Mishko. "Since then, I have been playing the game and it is a big part of my life. I started in the Northampton program when I could, and I have been playing as often as I can throughout the year."
Head coach Brian Ruff knows he can rely on Mishko's veteran presence in the locker room and on the ice.
"Gunnar (Mishko) has been a solid player for us for a long time," said Ruff. "He (Mishko) has been leader on and off the ice. He is an explosive player who can get the job done for us. Gunnar realizes what we have to do to get back to where we need to be.
"We have been in this funk for a while, but we're going back to square one in the next couple of weeks to get us back to where we should be."
Mishko plans to begin a career in criminal justice when he attends West Chester University next fall. He also has entertained the thought of entering the military over his graduation to embark on a 20-year career.
"I'll try out for the team there," said Mishko about the possibilities of playing hockey at West Chester. "I'm not sure what career I would like to begin with, but I would like to go into the military. I do want to keep playing hockey for a while, though."
Playing hockey at Northampton for a while is also on his mind. The Kids have three regular season games left before the playoffs.
"I really think we can get everything together for the playoffs," Mishko said. "The guys know what is at stake. We want to bring a championship back to Northampton."