Celina leaves all on ice in win for Martinez
By Abigail Allen
Editor & Publisher
The Bobcats showed fire on the ice Sunday against Frisco West, fueled by a special purpose—winning for U.S. Army Captain Marcus Martinez.
Martinez is being deployed to the Middle East, and Sunday was the last chance for him to watch his son, William "Bulldog" Martinez, and his teammates play for at least a year.
"It means the absolute world," Marcus said. "They've come together in the past two years, and they've become their own little family."
The game puck and poster the team gave him meant so much to Marcus, too, saying "I love these kids."
"I don't know how to describe it," he said. "It means something to them. … They played so hard today. If they continue to play as hard as they did today for the rest of the year, they'll make the playoffs and they'll go beyond the first round."
He's grateful, too, for the support the other Celina hockey families have offered.
"To see the amount of support that they're giving me, I know it's also going to be for my family," he said. "And that means more than anything else. That they're going to be looked after while I’m gone."
The Bobcats began the game with an intensity they had not yet reached this season that continued throughout the game.
Assistant Coach Brian Moreno said that's exactly what the coaching staff wanted to see.
"They've started to gel together as a team, and they had the tenacity that we've been asking them to play with all season," Moreno said.
Frisco West's Liam Eslinger, assisted by Nicholas Primeau, scored the first goal of the game with 1:38 left in the first period.
It was Celina's show from there.
Nathan Castanon of Celina tied the game with 10:56 remaining in the second period.
He then followed that up with another goal in the second period with 9:18 left, assisted by Zachary Litaker of Celina.
Litaker then scored a goal of his own late in the second period for the final goal of the game.
Sunday was also another standout performance for goaltender Blake Renowden of Van Alstyne.
He recorded a save percentage of 98%, allowing only one of 49 shots on-goal in.
The Bobcats also held their opponents scoreless during a 5-on-3 power play.
It was the first time back on the ice in weeks for Dylan Schroeder of Providence Village after a broken collarbone required him to miss not only games but also practices.
Upon reentering the ice, Schroeder returned with an aggressive and proactive style of play.
"I was at least able to hit some people," he said.
He was pleased with the way the team played together, getting closer to securing a playoff spot.
Playing for Williams' dad meant a lot to him, too.
"I hope he's safe over there, and I'm glad he was able to see us win," Schroeder said.
Kaedyn Manzer of Melissa agreed that the team played well together.
"Our goalie, Blake—he rocked it," she said. "So he held up really well."
William came out of the locker room with a big smile on his face.
"We played well as a team, which makes me happy," he said. "… We had a lot of fire and a lot of heart going into this game."
Keeping that motivation going for his dad meant a lot to him.
"That felt good, especially knowing that he's going away," William said. "I'll miss him, but I know that he now has a memory engraved in his heart, so he'll be all good going over there."