Entering this season it was unclear how the Rowan Division II ice hockey team would perform. They were coming off a quality season, but were integrating a substantial amount of new faces that put the success of the season into question.
Well, it’s safe to say that this Rowan team can play.
After their first six games of the season the team sits comfortably with a 5-1 record, and are outscoring their opponents 31-16.
“I’m very pleased with the play of the team,” head coach John Caulfield said.
It would be hard not to be. Last week Caulfield’s team proved their resiliency by stomping an Army team just one day after getting beat up on by their rival, Rider University.
This week, the brown and gold took home two more victories, one in a convincing 5-1 outing over Wagner University, and the other in a 4-3, hard-fought overtime battle with University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
During the wallop of Wagner something interesting happened that drastically changed the outcome of the contest. Caulfield, the 11th year head coach, serendipitously found the line combination that would lead them to such a dominating outcome.
The line of Alec Nicolai, Aaron Segnello and Sam Meyer scored three of the five goals for Rowan.
“Funny thing is the line came about out of my frustration from our play in the first,” Caulfield said. “They clicked almost instantly.”
Caulfield decided to keep the line together for Rowan’s second game of the weekend against UMBC, and though they didn’t show up on the stat sheet, the line performed well.
The Profs as a whole played a solid matchup against UMBC, and proved that despite their youth, they can still compete with teams and win games in high-pressure moments.
After a long bus trip down to Maryland, the brown and gold played a tightly contested game. They jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first, and held it until the third period when the Retrievers made a furious comeback. When the regulation buzzer rang, the game was knotted at three goals a side.
“After losing the lead late we remained calm and focused, and came out in the [overtime] and we weren’t afraid to lose,” Caulfield said.
It was that intrepidness from the Profs that enabled them to snatch the overtime victory. Freshman defenseman Anthony Yurkowski made a bold play to attack the net and was rewarded with the game-winning goal.
“That lack of fear is key to being able to win,” Caulfield said. “There’s no hesitation in decisions, there’s no panic with the puck.”
The Profs will be back on the ice on Friday for a rematch with Army. They handed Army a thumping the last time the two met earlier in October, and will bring the same plan of attack into the game.
After that, Rowan runs into Delaware University, the back-to-back Mid Atlantic Collegiate Hockey champions. The Blue Hens are perennial contenders, and although they’re having troubles this season, they’re returning their goaltender and top forward from last season, so the Profs aren’t overlooking them.
“It’s no fluke they’ve won two titles,” Caulfield said. “Overall they are a proven squad. They’ll give us all we can handle.”
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