Published: February 25, 2016
The University’s club hockey team had its impressive season ended by Rutgers University in the Great Northeastern Collegiate Hockey Conference championship game Sunday.
The club hockey team defeated Bloomsburg University 7-4 Saturday in the first round of the playoffs in a game that saw first-year defenseman Chris Marsman score a hat trick.
In the GNCHC championship game, the Royals fought until the very end.
Despite being down 3-0 midway through the third period, the Royals refused to give up.
The Royals were able to get on the scoreboard when sophomore forward Ross Kleinschmidt hit the back of the net with nine minutes to go in the last period.
The Royals then cut the Scarlet Knights’ lead to one with five minutes left in the third period, when sophomore forward Alex DiMeo hit paydirt.
The Scarlet Knights would survive the Royals’ late scoring barrage, winning the game 3-2.
Despite the unfortunate end to the season, the club hockey team is proud of its season and how far they came.
Last year, the team played in less than 10 games because of an incident and was not even part of an official league.
Senior captain Neil Jacobsen said the futility of last year’s games helped provide some fire on the ice.
“I don’t want to say last year was lacking in intensity, but we knew we weren’t playing for the championship,” Jacobsen said.
“It was upsetting that every game didn’t matter. Leading up to the start of this year, we were incredibly hungry. The motivation put some extra spark into our game.
Although last year’s season was disappointing, Jacobsen said the team still maintained a positive outlook entering this year.
“Going into this year we had high expectations. We knew the league we would be in because we played some of the teams last year,” Jacobsen said. “We won our first game of the year, and we saw the talent we had on the team. We knew we could be special.”
Jacobsen went on to say the turning point of the season spawned from a losing streak the team went on.
“We started off the season pretty strong, but then we went on a three-game losing streak,” Jacobsen said. “We had a big talk, and we upped the intensity in practices. We started to approach things differently and more focused. That really helped us turn things around down the stretch.”
Senior forward Gregg Daley, who also served as team captain, said the intensity during the playoffs was ‘insane,’ and that every member of the team was ‘playing for one another.’
Daley also cited teamwork as the main reason for the team’s success.
“Teamwork was everything. It was the key silver lining, because we never thought we would even get to the point we were at.
You can’t get as far as we did by having individual personalities,” Daley said. “The captains were treated the same as the first-year students in regard to showing up to practices and meetings. Everyone was held accountable.”
The experience was incredible for the entire team as a whole, but Daley said it meant a little extra for the seniors.
“It meant so much to everybody on the team, but especially for us seniors,” Daley said. “We really haven’t played a meaningful game since we got here our first years, so it was awesome going into a game knowing winning really matters and knowing we could progress through the season.”
Daley also said he hopes the seniors on the team were able to leave the younger players with invaluable advice.
“We want them to know don’t ever get down on a fellow teammate,” Daley said. “When a teammate is feeling down, you have to help pick them back up. You can’t scream at them, you just have to help them. I hope this year’s seniors can walk away, look back and realize we positively contributed to the future of this great program.”
Although the season did not end in the fashion the team envisioned, the team has an abundance of positives to take away from the successful season.
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