Rowan is a talented hockey team.
If there was any doubt in this statement, it should be put to rest after the past weekend’s stretch of games.
The Profs won both of their contests against The College of New Jersey and St. Joseph’s University, and embarked on their second three-game winning streak of the season. A sign of success even their head coach hadn’t realized.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” head coach John Caulfield said. “Consecutive wins are fun, certainly more so than consecutive losses. Wins build confidence, and it’s hard to coach confidence.”
Confidence is in abundance in the Profs’ locker room right now, as they’re the owners of a solid 8-2 record and are coming off a convincing 7-0 win against St. Joseph’s.
Special teams played an integral part in the commanding victory over the Hawks on Saturday. The brown and gold’s first goal of the game came on the man advantage in the first period, and two of the four second period goals were while Rowan was shorthanded.
“The two shorties kind of deflated their balloon,” Caulfield said. “We played well, I thought we surprised them with our speed, and they had a tough time recovering from the early goals.”
Senior forward Alec Nicolai — as has been the story for most of the season — was the undeniable force leading Rowan to its victories. The seemingly ubiquitous skater scored four goals on the weekend, two of which came against TCNJ at critical moments.
His dominance over the weekend is nothing out of the ordinary according to his head coach. In fact, his performance was simply something that is almost expected of him.
“Nicolai was Nicolai,” Caulfield said. “He was clutch in the TCNJ game scoring timely goals to give us a lift when we needed it. And on the [penalty kill] he was a factor by generating short handed opportunities and also scoring short handed.”
Despite blowing out St. Joseph’s on Saturday, the Profs had a tougher matchup the day prior. They found themselves entrenched in their fourth straight one goal game up in Ewing Township against TCNJ.
The young Rowan crew has shown time and again that they are capable in the tight-game situations, and have displayed a nice mix of moxy and poise that have helped them take three of the four one-goal games.
That combination of youthful aggression and veteran poise will be of importance in the two upcoming games. They face off with last year’s National Championship runners up, Liberty University and Virginia Tech, a team that always competes tightly with the Profs.
It will be a good litmus test for the brown and gold in the coming weekend. They are playing sound hockey, but the contests against the next two opponents will show just how promising Caulfield’s “kids” are against top-fleet competition.
“Both teams are perennial playoff teams, and Mid-Atlantic powers,” Caulfield said. “We’ll need to be prepared to work hard once we arrive in Virginia. Our schedule gets tougher from here moving forward.”
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