Perhaps it’s the youth. Perhaps it’s the unfamiliar arenas. Perhaps it’s the lengthy bus trips.
Whatever the issue is, it has been plaguing the Rowan Division II ice hockey team whenever they hit the road this season.
After their first eight games, the Profs are handling teams with no problem inside of their home arena, but issues tend to arise when travel is involved.
Head coach John Caulfield is unable to come up with a reason for his team’s road woes.
“Still fine-tuning ourselves to the travel I guess,” Caulfield said.
The brown and gold are just 1-2 in away games early in the season after dropping Friday’s game 3-2 against Army, but are a strong 5-0 inside their own house with a plus-18 goal margin.
The difference between Rowan at home compared to the team that shows up when they take to the road is something that will need to be addressed fairly promptly.
Within a month, the Profs will encounter a difficult and lengthy road trip.
“Hopefully we [figure it out] before seeing a five-game road schedule coming up on consecutive weekends in November,” Caulfield said.
Rowan has proven, when they perform to their proper standard, that they become a team that imposes its will on the opponent and become very difficult to compete with.
But their past set of games against Army and the University of Delaware showed an unfamiliar team.
“I thought we missed a chance to steal a point on the road at Army,” Caulfield said. “Saturday [against Delaware] we were three different teams. One that can dictate the pace of the game, one that takes its foot off the gas and one capable of coming back to win. I prefer the first, I like the third, and would rather not see the middle choice.”
Saturday’s matchup with Delaware was a hectic game that saw both teams control the ice at one point.
At the end of the first period the Profs were in total command with a 3-0 lead that looked like it would be insurmountable for the Blue Hens. By the end of the second period the Profs relinquished their advantage, allowing Delaware to storm all the way back to a tie.
It was a high-scoring 5-5 tie by the end of the regulation, and for the second weekend in a row the Profs were yet again left looking for an overtime hero.
This time it was senior forward Mike Macgahey, who came through in the clutch.
Macgahey, who Caulfield said “had a good weekend,” is the team’s second leading scorer, and provided a timely goal to stave off a double-loss weekend.
Rowan will head back on the road to try to solve their perplexing travel tribulations against The College of New Jersey on Friday. The Profs opened up their season against them just over a month ago, and came away with a 6-4 victory.
After the TCNJ, the Profs are tasked with another non-league game, home against St. Joseph’s University the following night.
Caulfield will look to one period in particular for his team to model its upcoming games around.
“We’ll need to be prepared to play 60 minutes, but if we play like we did in the first period versus Delaware, we’ll be OK,” Caulfield said.