Deep within their locker room, well beyond the tears brought about by a stinging loss in a state championship final, players from the Staples\/Weston\/Shelton hockey team must have felt a deep appreciation late last Saturday morning for assistant coach Ben Potash.Despite tired muscles and a feeling of remorse for missing out on the big prize, a titleholder\u2019s medallion, members of this squad had the strength and undiminished drive to come back from a three-goal deficit with another one, of what seems like, patented third-periods. Down 4-1, the Wreckers got two goals from Sam New, one of the players who\u2019ll be returning next year, and a third from Jesse Grenspun, one of five graduating seniors, to pull even at 4 with 3:03 left on the clock. Unfortunately, Stamford Co-op\u2019s Nick Rich provided the crusher when he got behind SWS\u2019s defense, broke in solo on Wreckers\u2019 goalie Zach Bloom and deposited the puck in the net for what would prove to be the winning goal and his third of the game. With only 27.8 seconds to go, it would've taken a Herculean effort to come back once again. But, without someone like Potash, the team\u2019s first-year strength and conditioning coach, it\u2019s unlikely that the Wreckers would\u2019ve produced enough late-game endurance to rally from three down against a highly-skilled team like Stamford. \u201cWe\u2019ve been able to do this all year long, have great third periods,\u201d said SWS head coach Todd Sharinn. \u201cWe\u2019ve always seemed to be there at the end.\u201d And, it\u2019s likely that Potash, a current senior at New Rochelle, N.Y.\u2019s, Iona College, is the prime reason why. \u201cOnce they hired me and I came on the in spring we began our off-season training in earnest,\u201d said Potash, a native of Greenwich who now lives in Stamford. \u201cWe did sprints, we ran hills and we put in a weightlifting program. I don\u2019t think too many high school hockey teams have gotten into that.\u201d The end result is the Wreckers have 140-pound forwards who can take shots from mid-ice and put the puck, on the fly, over the net and off the end glass. They have ferocious forechecking patterns which create havoc in an opponent\u2019s defensive zone. They were constantly able to get to loose pucks, a step or two ahead of an opposing player. And, in one-on-one confrontations they often times outmuscled an opponent. \u201cI think the real key in hockey is having balance,\u201d Potash said. \u201cAnd that comes from developing strong legs; being able to anchor yourself on the ice.\u201d Potash, who never played hockey (he was a high school lacrosse player) is majoring in nutrition and minoring in education at Iona, is also a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter in New York who has a 2-0 record and plans on returning to competition with Team Rain Out now that the hockey season has concluded. Another love is weightlifting. He can bench press 425 pounds, more than double his bodyweight (205); can squat 525 pounds, and can dead lift 525 pounds. His summer will consist of attempting to break the existing Connecticut records in all three lifts. But on Saturday, regardless of the heavy feeling brought on by the loss, Potash was uplifted by this team and how it carried itself throughout a season of 15 wins measured against nine losses and the first trip back to Yale University's Ingalls Rink for SWS since the 2011 season. \u201cIt\u2019s a family of kids and coaches with deep core values,\u201d he said. \u201cYou saw those guys out there with their arms around each other waiting patiently to receive a losing team metal. \u201cI\u2019m very proud to be part of this group.\u201d That feeling about Potash no doubt runs through the players and into the coaching staff of Sharinn and the team\u2019s other assistant, Kevin Bettini.