Rick Sandella just loves to have fun on the ice and, based on his personal stats and team’s win total, Rick is having a blast out there with the Guilford boys’ ice hockey squad this winter.
Rick is a senior captain who plays forward for the Indians. After helping Guilford reach the Division II State Tournament semifinals last year, Rick is having an even stronger sendoff season as he’s netted 10 goals with a team-leading 23 assists for the Indians, who sport a record of 11-2.
“I love that you can just have fun the whole time you’re on the ice. It’s always a good time,” says Rick. “I play with the two best line-mates in the state [sophomores Jack Ring and John Delucia]. Jack can put it in from anywhere and John is a playmaker that makes everyone around him better.”
Rick dishes out additional credit to the Indians’ defensemen. Rick says that their support on the ice helps him score, and Rick has certainly has a knack for lighting the lamp.
“It’s all about getting to the net and being in the right place and having a lot of prior experience with hockey helps, too. A great defense also boosts your confidence to go in on a rush,” Rick says. “I like scoring after making a good defensive play and then going in on offense to make a breakaway and top-shelf goal.”
Indians’ Head Coach Ralph Russo praises Rick for the variety of attributes he displays on the ice. Russo also has nothing but nice things to say regarding the impact that Rick makes in his community.
“Rick has tremendous hand-eye coordination, great lateral movement, and a quick and accurate shot. You can really tell that he loves to play hockey when you watch him play. As a senior captain, he is easygoing and tries to keep things light with his teammates by offering humorous comments from time to time,” says Russo. “He is all in for his team on and off the ice. He has helped organize players to attend team and community functions. Recently, he helped organize players to do some fundraising for a classmate at [Guilford High School] by having the team collect donations around the [Guilford Green]. He has always helped with community events like Trunk or Treat and our youth player Skate with the Varsity program. On the ice, he has been a nice support player for his teammates. While all players like to score, he is happy helping his line-mates, John Delucia and Jack Ring, put the puck in the net.”
As evidenced by his 23 assists, Rick loves sharing the wealth among the guys on his line, with whom he shares a deep bond. Rick knows he can always trust them with the puck when he passes it off and, in turn, they can have faith that Rick can fire it home with a patented shot that he’s worked hard to perfect.
“Jack, I just met this year, but John I’ve known since I was five or six years old. Since the preseason this year, we’ve all become best friends and that chemistry helps us,” Rick says. “I work on my shot in practice constantly and, when I’m off the ice, I like to shoot pucks whenever I can. It’s all about getting the form down and having the physical attributes come all together.”
Rick likes how the Indians feature a balanced mix of proficient players at all ends of the ice this season. He knows that fluid puck movement and concrete chemistry are two of the biggest keys for Guilford in its quest to advance even further in the Division II State Tournament.
“We have a lot of all-around talent this year and a great goaltender in [fellow senior co-captain Kyle Dwyer], plus we also have some new and great players. We also practice every day like it’s a playoff game,” says Rick, who thanks his parents, Virginia and Paul, along with Coach Russo and his line-mates. “We’re improving every day and we just have to continue to move the puck well and work together as a team.”