Team USA U-19 has just a few days to prepare for the FIL opening game against a powerful Canadian team. Luckily, for team USA, Austin Hennigsen has been preparing his whole life for this opportunity.
As a Long Island resident, Henningsen got to reap the benefits of living in a small world. Living next door to Henningsen and his grandparents was face-off guru and former Long island Lizard’s star, Matt Schomburg. From day one Schomburg preached the technique and Henningsen listened.
“I was doing pretty well in our league and it just really took off…I knew I was going to be a faceoff guy.”
From the first whistle of his first game as a freshman, Henningsen continued to dominate at the X for the Northport Tigers. Now, as a Maryland Terrapin he continues to dominate. In his first season Heeningsen with the Terps he won 151 of 256 faceoffs (59%) on the season. He also managed to win 19 out of 30 against North Carolina in this years championship game.
Don’t think he made a difference? Well, when Henningsen missed 4 games in the regular season the Terps face-off percentage dropped to 39%. And all of his coaches, including Tillman, speak highly of him.
“We liked that he was a little bit bigger…He’s a pretty physical kid. We knew in the conference that we play, those guys get beat up and we’d like to kind of use the same, very similar to a running back that takes a lot of hits. He’s a very durable guy. He’s got quick hands.”
-John Tillman, Maryland Head Coach
Henningsen is looking forward to the challenge he will face at the FIL world championships.
“It’s going to be fun to faceoff against him [Justin Inacio] in Canada, when it really counts…He’s a smaller dude. But he’s very scrappy-like. He likes to go out and run the ball. The past few times I’ve seen him, that’s what I’ve took from him.”