Stevenson's Projansky takes pro-active approach to scoring
Jared Projansky keeps making Stevenson hockey history.
The senior skated into the high school's history books Dec. 14 with an awe-inspiring, eye-popping, record-setting show as the host Patriots blanked Barrington 8-0 at the Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove.
Projansky scored at 4:32 of the first period, the 86th goal of his two-year career, breaking the Stevenson record held by Greg Rachke (2007-2010). Projansky finished the game with 5 goals and added 3 assists, giving him 168 career points, surpassing Rachke's school record of 161.
Projansky is up to180 career points, including 96 goals. On Saturday, Stevenson's star had a goal and 3 assists in the Patriots' 7-3 win at Prairie Ridge to set the school record for career assists (84), formerly held by Grady Suerth (83).
Projansky also had a 5-goal game against Rockford last season), and his 8-point performance was a personal best.
"The records mean a lot to me," said Projansky, who lives in Buffalo Grove. "People used to tell me that high school hockey was not really good, but having played (at this level) for two years, I know that's not true. I think the top teams in our league, the Scholastic Hockey League, are better than Central States (Development Hockey League) teams.
"My main goal (for playing high school hockey) was to break the Stevenson scoring record because I heard, as a sophomore, that I wasn't good enough to play varsity hockey. I just wanted to prove to people that I am a good hockey player. So (the records) mean a lot to me."
As a sophomore, Projansky skated for the Ice Dogs, based in Vernon Hills, yet his team that season "was one of the weaker teams in the state," he said.
Now in his second season on the Stevenson varsity, skating on right wing for the Patriots' top forward line, Projansky said the team has a "good chance" of winning the state championship in March. The Patriots (23-9-1) were the state's preseason No. 1-ranked team.
Stevenson won the championship of its own 16-team Thanksgiving tournament, played in Buffalo Grove.
The right-handed-shooting Projansky has 36 goals, 40 assists in 33 games, including a 6-point game in late-November against St. Viator (3 goals, 3 assists) and a team-leading 6 power-play goals.
"Even though the teams in the SHL are the best in the state, playing those teams over and over, you can kind of figure out their weaknesses," Projansky said. "I seem to play really well against Glenbrook North and Loyola (Gold), but New Trier (Green) seems to do a better job of stopping me. But once I'm familiar with a team, it's not as hard (to score). I feel a great sense of accomplishment, doing what I have against some of the top (opponents) and top teams in the state."
Opponents certainly are well aware of the speedy Projansky.
"Jared plays the game with a high level of intensity," New Trier Green coach Bob Melton said. "As a coach, you better know when he's on the ice."
Last season against New Trier Green, in Game 1 of the best-of-three semifinals of the league playoffs, the Patriots scored with about a minute remaining in regulation time, tying the game 1-1. Then, with about 10 seconds left in the game, Projansky sent the puck to teammate Ryan Wiley, who scored the game-winner.
"That probably was my biggest assist over the past two seasons," Projansky said.
And then in the SHL championship series against Glenbrook North, Projansky delivered yet again. In Game 2 of the best-of-three series, after having lost the first game, the Patriots fell behind 2-0 early in the game. The team was, no doubt, emotionally impacted heading into the game, having just been eliminated from the state tournament by Benet Academy.
Projansky scored on a rebound, cutting the GBN lead to 2-1, and catapulting the Patriots to the must-win victory. He finished the game with 3 goals, 2 assists.
"I think a lot of the reason we're very confident this season is because we went so far in the SHL playoffs last year, showing we can beat anyone," Projansky said.
Projansky skates alongside center Michael Trapp and left wing Ryan Wiley. They've skated together since the middle of last season, and in their first game as linemates, Projansky dropped 5 goals at Rockford.
"Ever since then, we've really clicked," Projansky said.
Projansky said he plans to play club hockey next fall. He is leaning toward Indiana or Kansas, and plans to pursue a business or law degree.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform," he said. "I think my teammates know that, and also that I hate losing more than anything."
Projansky has just 28 penalty minutes in 33 games, which definitely is part of his plan.
"I probably led my team in penalty minutes as a second-year Pee Wee (at about age 13)," he said. "But I figured out quickly that, when I'm not on the ice, I can't score goals. So, I've really tried to eliminate (penalties) from my game, and I think I've done a pretty good job at that."
Meet Olympian Megan Bozek: There will be a meet-and-greet fundraiser, featuring Olympic hockey player Megan Bozek, Saturday at Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove, starting at 8 p.m. Fans will get to meet Bozek, get her autograph, bid on rare, signed sports memorabilia, and more.
"I am beyond thrilled that (Twin Rinks) is putting on this event to send myself and my family to Sochi," said Bozek, who's from Buffalo Grove and graduated from Stevenson. "The community is great, and I am looking forward to seeing family, friends, and others on Saturday night. I'm very grateful and honored to be representing the United States of America (at the Sochi Winter Olympics)."