Odria seeks redemption before moving on to Juniors
BRECKENRIDGE – The junior season is often the most important for high school athletes with college or professional aspirations. That is especially the case for Summit High School goaltender Rick Odria.
This will be Odria’s last season with the Tigers before heading off, probably to Michigan, to play Junior Hockey as a senior. He’ll be using this season to prove he belongs at the Junior level, but also to fix his legacy as Summit High School’s first goaltender.
Odria came on like a tornado as a freshman in the Tigers’ first year in the Colorado High School League. Even hockey lifer Ron Byrne – former Colorado College coach and Tigers coach the past two years – was inspired. Byrne knew he had a talent that could carry a high school team.
And during many games that inaugural season, Odria did, helping the team get within one win of the playoffs.
But things weren’t as rosy for Odria as a sophomore last season. He missed a couple starts because of off-ice problems and lost some focus during the season’s stretch run. The low point was allowing eight goals in Summit’s first-ever playoff appearance last February.
“Toward the end, for some reason, I don’t know why, I was just off,” Odria said.
Head coach Jake Quigley witnessed Odria’s struggles as an assistant last season, and he’s confident that it was an anomaly.
“He’s seen what it takes to play at the next level,” Quigley said. “He spent a lot of time up in Canada in Junior try-outs and in camps. And the one thing he knows he needed to focus on was his focus.
“Of all of our goaltenders we’ve had in the last three years, it’s clear that Rick is the most naturally gifted athlete. It’s just a matter of him harnessing that himself.”
Odria is capable of dominating games. If he can combine the consistency he showed as a freshman with the strength and maturity he now possesses, he could be the best goaltender in the league.
Odria could have fled to the Junior ranks this season. But he made the decision toward the end of the summer to make a final run with the Tigers. And he didn’t do it just for his own benefit.
“We have a lot of new players,” Odria said, “and I was hoping that I could help those guys out and maybe be one of the leaders on the team this year.”
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