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Lake Forest Academy's Josh Casper.

The Lake Forest Academy hockey team has players on its roster from throughout the United States and Canada.

Then, there’s senior defenseman Josh Casper. He grew up in Lake Forest, and his three older siblings all attended Lake Forest High School. For Casper, though, it was an easy choice to attend Lake Forest Academy.

“It just seemed like the right fit for me,” Casper said.

Casper, a senior captain, is playing at his highest level in his final season for the Caxys. His stalwart, physical defense helps Lake Forest Academy set the tempo, and he has demonstrated an increased ability and willingness to look for chances to score. In fact, he ranks among the top five on the team in points.

“He plays big and physical,” senior forward Andrew Purdom said. “He has a physical style of play that everyone looks up to and can really get the team going. He’s always been really good on the defensive side of the puck and now he’s a big contributor offensively. He’s confident moving the puck up the ice and not afraid to take the chance to get the puck to the net.”

Added Lake Forest Academy coach Darrin Madeley: “Josh is a player that doesn’t come around very often. He plays a tough, physical brand of hockey. He could play 60 minutes a night if asked.”

Casper spent much of the offseason working on his offensive skills. He already has contributed nine goals and 17 assists (26 points).

“His biggest improvement is that he now uses the heavy shot that he has developed that has been successful,” Madeley said.

Interestingly, a key catalyst for his increased ability on offense was his second season playing lacrosse, a sport that calls for many of the same skills. Casper played baseball in the spring as a freshman but switched to lacrosse as a sophomore when Lake Forest Academy launched its program.

“The passing skills, hand-eye coordination and stick work are similar,” Casper said. “It helped me to see [hockey] from a new perspective.”

Casper watched his older brother play hockey when he was little and had an immediate urge to join him on the ice.

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t play,” Casper said. “I started skating lessons when I was two or three years old and I never wanted to quit. I liked the intensity of the sport, the aggression and how fast-paced of a game it is.”

Casper is excited with the way Lake Forest Academy (21-12-5) is playing as the team heads into the stretch run of the season.

“Our team chemistry has improved significantly throughout the year,” he said. “We’re clicking more and I’m looking forward to seeing how we do the next month.”

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