Rowan DII ice hockey cruises by Millersville, Rider next

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The Rowan Pep Band got almost as much of a cardio workout as the men’s ice hockey team did on Friday night, leading the packed Hollydell Ice Arena crowd in celebration after each goal.

And there were plenty of them. The Profs lit the lamp eight times en route to an 8-1 bludgeoning of Millersville University.

“That was fun,” head coach John Caulfield said. “We had good jump, we had a good forecheck, I especially love the backcheck, and I thought the power play moved the puck well. It’s hard to find a lot of negatives.”

The brown and gold, as they look to do every game, controlled the pace of the contest and forced the Marauders to play at their frantic speed. They moved the puck effortlessly through the neutral zone, and made tic-tac-toe passes in the offensive zone leading to lamplighters all night.

But it wasn’t the offensive domination that Caulfield was most impressed with after the game. His emphasis in practice the week before was focused on his young team’s backcheck. 

“Our backcheck was great,” Caulfield said. “After last week’s game, giving up four goals, we really emphasized coming back down through the middle and taking that lane away. I thought tonight we really clamped down.”

The Rowan defense suffocated Millersville for 60 minutes, and if not for a miscommunication in the defensive zone, the brown and gold would have had their first shutout of the season. The team was able to corral the Marauders along the boards upon entry into their zone, and snuffed out any opportunities in the goal-scoring areas.

Perhaps more impressive than the Profs’ defensive efforts was their power-play work. The team cashed in on three opportunities on the man advantage, and looked smooth doing it.

“We were working on it this week, putting a little extra detail into it and we were fortunate enough to capitalize on it,” Caulfield said.

For a young team that is still looking to build a cohesiveness together, their game against Millersville is one to build on. The dexterity they displayed throughout all facets of the game and for a full three-period game is the type of bounce back they needed after their season opener.

“It’s a confidence builder. It makes them feel a little bit better about their game, they feel a little bit more confident at this level,” Caulfield said. “They come in and are a little nervous, but getting these two games out of the way is going to help them. Next week it starts to get serious with Army and Rider, both league games back to back.”

The Rowan and Rider rivalry has been gaining some notoriety in the last few seasons, and the young Profs are going to get their first taste of the action early on this season.

It’s a convenient time for Rowan to hit its rivals after playing such a strong game, and gaining early season confidence, because Rider games are always tough fights.

“We got a pretty good rivalry going with Rider since we’ve come into the league so those games are always fun,” Caulfield said. “Rowan and Rider games are usually pretty good.”

The team travels to face the Broncs, a Mid Atlantic Collegiate Hockey North foe, on Oct. 7.

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