Rowan DII ice hockey struggles at Rider, bounces back against Army

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It’s usually a tale of two halves, as the saying goes. For the Rowan men’s ice hockey team, it was more like a tale of two games.

The Profs were beaten badly, 5-2, by their rival Rider University on Friday, then found their stride again with a 6-2 win in their next contest against Army on Saturday.

One good game, one awful game,” head coach John Caulfield said. “The Rider game was a poor start. We took on some water, and tried to empty it by shooting holes in the boat. Twenty-four hours later we adjusted where we felt we struggled, and the result was much better.”

The young Rowan squad, despite their sluggish start on the road against Rider, was able to somewhat save themselves from an utter blowout.

It was a 5-2 loss that looked like it could have been a beatdown at one point. From the late first period to the early third period, the Broncos owned the scoreboard, netting four straight goals during that stretch. The Profs were able to tack on their second goal seven minutes into the third period to make the game respectable.

Still, it was a disappointment that left Caulfield looking for answers.

“I’m not sure why we were so flat. The bus ride was too short to be a factor,” Caulfield said. “Young team maybe, or maybe not finishing ‘Goodfellas’ was a bad sign.”

After the loss to Rider, though, the Profs made sure to stop their losing streak at one. They played a much tighter game when Army came to Hollydell Ice Arena, and the brown and gold tuned them up to a score of 6-2.

“Not one of us was pleased with what happened against Rider, and everyone was determined to not have a repeat performance,” Caulfield said.

In the Army game, it was noticeable who was making the engine rev for the Profs. The senior duo of Mike Macgahey and Alec Nicolai have been strong contributors throughout the first four contests, and against Army it was no different.

The two combined for four points on Saturday, and initiated the bounce-back victory.

“[Macgahey and Nicolai] have to set the table for everyone else, and they have been outstanding,” Caulfield said. “Thus far #91 and #3 have set a great example for the new guys.”

The Profs get back on the ice for their second straight home game on Saturday, welcoming the Wagner College Seahawks. Wagner is a struggling team that has yet to find a win in their first five games, and have scored just eight goals total on the season, seven less than what their last opponent scored on them in three periods.

They then hit the road for their battle against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a team that has won back-to-back games and boasts two high-scoring threats on their roster.

Caulfield is unconcerned by the road matchup, despite his team’s poor play their last time on the road. In fact, it will be used as a motivator.

“The Rider game won’t be soon forgotten,” Caulfield said. “Embarrassment is a strong motivator.”

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