When the schedule was released for the Rowan Division II ice hockey team they knew that this point of the season would be a noticeably difficult stretch.
Rowan would have to play Penn State and the University of Delaware in back-to-back games during a crucial part of their season. This past weekend was that vaunted set of games.
Fortunately for the Profs they were able to split the weekend and grab a big win against Delaware.
“I was hoping for better versus Penn State,” head coach John Caulfield said. “Winning the second game helps ease the sting of [the loss against Penn State].”
In the Profs bout with Penn State, the scoreboard might have been a bit of a misleading measuring stick of the game. The score read “4-2” in favor of the Nittany Lions at the final buzzer, but the loss had its share of unfortunate bounces for the Profs.
“Both first period goals were disappointing because we didn’t do anything poorly,” Caulfield said.
The puck took a poor hop off the door of the Zamboni entrance on the Nittany Lions’ first goal. Then, an unlucky deflection off the body of a Rowan defender caused a fluttering puck, and the second goal of the opening period.
After the early first-period deficit, the Profs made their attempt at a comeback. Sophomore Sam Meyer netted one for the brown and gold in the early going of the second period, but almost nine minutes later, Penn State notched another power-play goal that proved to be the game winner. Penn State was 3 for 5 on the man advantage.
“Good teams will draw penalties because they create scenarios that put teams in vulnerable spots that require an action. Sometimes that action is a penalty,” Caulfield said about Penn State drawing so many penalties.
Rowan played a tight contest with one of their more difficult opponents in Penn State, but they had no time to award themselves consolation points. The team had to travel to Delaware the next day to face off with another tough opponent.
The Profs would get off to a scorching start in their matchup with the Blue Hens. An early 3-0 lead would be enough to sustain Rowan throughout the contest, but a frantic two-goal stretch late in the third period by Delaware made it an interesting affair.
Rowan was buoyed by the scoring of three underclassmen. Sophomore Michael Vulpio, who Caulfield called a “difference maker and a physical presence,” opened the scoring in the first and put home the game sealer with an empty netter. The defenseman bookended big goals by freshmen Aaron Segnello and Zach Glanding.
With their biggest challenges of the schedule now past them, the Profs have just three games left on their regular-season schedule. Next week brings up Virginia Tech and West Chester.
Both are teams the Profs have proven they can beat, but they won’t enter the weekend with a mentality of given wins.
“We know they aren’t to be taken lightly, and they won’t be,” Caulfield said. “We will be well aware of the challenge this weekend provides.”
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