Rowan DII ice hockey gets ready for playoff run

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After a seven-goal performance for Rowan Division II hockey in their regular season finale against Millersville University, the team is now heading to the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey playoffs.

And it seems the playoffs are coinciding perfectly with the hot streak that the brown and gold are currently enjoying.

“We are playing well,” head coach John Caulfield said. “We are starting to click at the right time. I’m hoping our best hockey comes during the playoff run.”

The brand of hockey that Caulfield is hoping for would assuredly look something similar to the style the Profs are playing with now.

Rowan’s 2016-17 season has seen the team reach four separate winning streaks of at least three games, but their present one is showcasing a different level of offensive potency.

They have scored a combined 20 goals over the past four games, and their most recent game against Millersville not only matched their season high with seven goals, but also featured an uncanny 74 shots on goal.

“We felt for us to create more offense we had to get more to the net. It’s something we’ve stressed this second semester,” Caulfield said.

In the seven games since the second semester started, Rowan has reached 30-plus shots on goal five times, and have reached the 45-plus mark three times.

Because Caulfield employs a system void of a checking line, it allows his team to play with a ferocious speed, and that speed is reaching its peak ability in the most crucial time.

“Our philosophy is to get four lines contributing, every guy is given an opportunity to score,” Caulfield said.

Perhaps the most impressive part about the recent dominance from Rowan is the balanced scoring attack its producing. In many of the Profs’ wins earlier in the season the goals would come from select players.

That is no longer the case.

Against Millersville, five different players lit the lamp. Against Virginia Tech on Feb. 4, three separate scorers on the three goals. West Chester on Feb. 3, four scorers on the six goals. The trend has directly correlated with Rowan’s success.

Now, the brown and gold have to continue their powerful four-line firing squad to ensure a first-round victory against rival Rider University.

The two teams met twice this year and the Broncs took three of four possible points out of the matchups, but the current version of Rowan is a more dynamic unit. Even without Rowan’s talent boost there’s a good chance the game would be a quality one.

“When Rowan and Rider play you can throw away records and trends,” Caulfield said. “The games are unpredictable with both teams emotionally invested.”

Looking a bit further into the future, the Profs can see the regionals tournament on the horizon. As of now, Rowan is slotted in as the ninth seed, but there are stipulations to the seeding.

According to Caulfield, the nine through 12 seeds can be jostled around. If a team in one of the four leagues that make up the regionals are currently unranked within the regional rankings but win their conference championship, the seeding will get a rearranging accordingly.

The brown and gold will take on Rider on Friday at 2:30 p.m. The game will be played at University of Delaware Gold Rink.

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