Rowan DII ice hockey eliminated from MACH tournament, looks ahead to regionals

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The Rowan Division II ice hockey team had a short-lived stay in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey (MACH) playoffs.

After tearing through their final stretch of regular season games, the Profs were bounced from the tournament in the opening round after a 7-3 loss to the Rider University Broncs.

One of the strengths the brown and gold were exhibiting in the tail-end of their season was discipline, and when they did find themselves on the penalty kill they were keeping the puck out of their net.

That changed against Rider.

“[We] took a five minute major penalty, and then the wheels came off the cart,” head coach John Caulfield said. “We didn’t recover from that.”

The Profs’ second period was a disastrous one that included a litany of penalties. Because of the extended penalty kill, the Profs suffered two additional penalties and the Broncs jumped on them.

“Rider scored two quickly and we did not respond well,” Caulfield said.

When the final buzzer rang, the onslaught concluded and the Broncs had racked up five power-play goals on just 27 total shots.

Caulfield was not hesitant to take blame for the loss after the game. His game plan, albeit a straightforward one, was not implemented properly, according to him.

“We were stressing fore-check and staying out of the box. We failed miserably,” Caulfield said. “I didn’t have the team properly prepared to play. That’s on me.”

The end of the MACH playoffs doesn’t mean the end of the 2016-17 season, however. The Profs played a strong enough season to ensure themselves a spot in the upcoming regionals tournament.

The Profs will be sitting in the ninth seed come the opening of the tournament, and will have to match up with The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), a team they’ve faced twice prior in the season. In both games it was the Profs that left with a victory.

Caulfield said he’s not worried about any effects of the poor play against Rider lingering into their game with TCNJ.

“We have a goldfish memory. It happened, it’s over. Next game,” he said.

The head coach is wary of the Lions, though, despite the success the Profs have had against them. TCNJ is heading into regionals off an injection of optimism after winning their league, and Caulfield said his guys will “have to stop their momentum to be successful.”

It wasn’t all bad news coming out of the weekend for the Profs, though. The MACH released their 2016-17 All-Conference teams and three Rowan players were on the list.

Junior defenseman Peter Kaz made the All-MACH first team, and senior forward Alec Nicolai and goaltender Cody Reilly made the All-MACH second team.

“Peter Kaz has been an instant fit since he’s joined us. He logs tons of minutes and is a leader on and off the ice,” Caulfield said. “[Nicolai and Reilly] are constants. They play hard every game, and are top-level players in the MACH. They’ll be difficult to replace when they graduate.”

Rowan and TCNJ face-off at 6 p.m. this Friday.

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