The Rowan Division II ice hockey team had a split weekend, but went into the final week of the season flexing their offensive prowess.
The Profs were on the road on Friday night against William Paterson University, who entered the contest with an overall record of 23-1 and an undefeated 10-0 at home.
Rowan found themselves in a quick 2-0 hole in the first period but answered with a beautiful goal from Bobby Penrod, who was heading towards the net and while being trailed by a defender, fell to the ice. As he was falling, he was able to get a shot off on-net, beating goaltender Jordan Hulahan top shelf. Lewis Claps assisted on the goal.
The Pioneers would tack on another goal before heading into the locker room with a 3-1 lead.
The second period was a stanza of massive scoring… just not for the Profs. William Paterson scored six goals in the period. Rowan scored two goals, one by Anthony Steffe (unassisted) and the other by Tucker Simmons.
Goalie Justin Natiello, who had played 1,420 consecutive minutes in net, was pulled for backup Sean Hofmann. Natiello had 17 saves on 26 shots. Hofmann stopped all ten shots he faced in the third, but the Profs dropped the contest 9-3.
As they say in this sport, you need to have a short memory when a game doesn’t go your way. That’s the exact mindset Rowan had as they had to hit the ice the following night at Hollydell.
They were pitted against West Chester University, a team they defeated 11-2 on the road back on Oct. 27.
The Profs were aiming for a revenge game after suffering the tough loss and they did so to the sound of 11 goals against the Golden Rams once again.
Rowan scored three goals in the first, five in the second and three in the third. Penrod, Anthony Dellerose and Thurston Schon had two goals each, while the other five goals were scored by Nick Ramos, Lewis Claps, Anthony Yurokowski, Sam Meyer and Simmons.
Justin Natiello shook off the rough outing the night prior by posting his fourth shutout of the season, stopping all 12 shots on net.
“It was a huge confidence booster for me,” Natiello said “You just have to have a short memory and shake it off.”
The story of the game was the young freshman who have found themselves on the score sheet night in and night out, showing that the future of the program is bright.
“We have a real solid group of rookies,” Peter Kaz said. “It just helps the program out knowing that there’s going to be talent for the next four years.”
“We are in a pretty deep rebuild with 11 rookie players, so there’s a lot of fresh kids in there,” said head coach John Caulfield. “If they can come in and contribute right away, that’s exactly what you want in our situation.”
The Profs’ final game of the regular season will be this Saturday, Feb. 10, on what will be senior night, an always emotional event. Getting a final two points in the standings before the postseason will be key. Puck drops at 8:15 p.m.
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