Keene State club hockey

KSC men’s club ice hockey team is picking up big wins this season. With their season finally in full swing, it’s clear that this team is going to be a tough competitor.

When the season started, the hockey team had not played a game in 591 days so coming back to the ice on October 1 was definitely one for the books. To top it all off, Keene won that game against the University of New Hampshire 4-3 in overtime. So far this season, Keene has played nine games and only has three losses, making their record 5-3-1.

Their first loss of the season was a 6-4 game against the University of Massachusetts on October 23. Their second loss was in their next game and ended with a final score of 2-1 to give Sacred Heart University the win on October 29. Their most recent loss was to RPI on November 7 with a final score of 4-1. Besides the win against UNH, the Owls have also had big time wins against Sienna with a score of 4-2, the University of Vermont with a score of 7-3, RPI with a score of 6-3, a tie against the University of Vermont, a 4-3 win over Northeastern.

The club hockey head coach, Bobby Rodrigue, explained that his team is at an interesting point in the season since they started off undefeated, but over the past couple weeks, the team has stumbled and struggled losing two games in a row. When asked what his team is doing well, Rodrigue explained that after not playing for a yearand-a-half, there are a lot of new and inexperienced players but they are doing well at not getting discouraged and staying positive and upbeat. He also explained that the team is fast and they are using that to their strength as well as getting more comfortable and being able to work together.

Rodrigue explained his team’s dynamic as “a pleasant surprise” because most of his team consists of new players who, until this year, have yet to play in a college hockey game. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team only got to practice in small groups of less than six people for the entirety of last season. That made Rodrigue hesitant because he believes “a team that lives together and parties together, plays well together.” For Rodrigue and his team however, since they were not as close due to COVID restrictions, he thought that in order for his team to bond, he would need to do icebreakers and team building activities. Fortunately for him, this year is nothing like he expected. Rodrigue explained why he believes the team has bonded and played so well together.

“The reality is I think the guys have just been so darn happy to be back together and playing that they’ve just come together very quickly. They’re a group that really enjoys being together. I will say that our first loss of the season was at U-Mass and when we got back from that road trip, the boys met in the locker room and it might have been their best and most positive meeting yet.”

Aaron Harmon, the club president agrees with Rodrigue, explaining that a whole year without skating or practicing put a hold on the team’s progress but he believes that they have exceeded the expectations. When giving credit to a player on the team, Harmon, named KSC club hockey goalie Will Slohm, has been especially helpful this season.

“I think our goalie has been the most helpful, so when we’re not playing well, he’s always standing there and holding our backs,” said Harmon.

Not only did Harmon mention goalie Will Slohm as being a helpful and positive member of the team.

A fellow player, Chris Wilson, also named Slohm as a positive and helpful member of the team.

“He’s been on his head basically every single game he’s played. Making key stops for us and really keeping us in those really important games. Another player that jumps right out to my mind, although he was hurt for the majority of the season so far, is Andrew Lusignan. He’s just a workhorse like he’s one of our key players and really just an all-around leader, very reliable and all that,” said Wilson.

When asked about goals for the team, Harmon said something that every team strives to reach; the national tournament. Harmon reflected on the team’s last real season and explained that they had received an “auto bid” which allowed them a straight shot into the national tournament in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, that was cancelled two days before the tournament was set to begin due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harmon says they would like to reach that level again to make up for missing the tournament two years ago.

“So our goal ever since then is to get back to that same spot so that we can go back and this year it’s in Saint Louis.”

Wilson elaborated on the team’s goals for this season explaining that although they want to go to regionals and nationals, he wants to start out small.

“We have to achieve all these smaller goals in order to get to our ultimate goal. There’s gonna be a lot of obstacles in the way, but I think we have the guys in the locker room that can get over those obstacles.”

 

Aurora Caraballo can be contacted at

acaraballo@kscequinox.com

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