Almost everyone has heard of the Golden Rams’ football team. Many have heard of the men’s and women’s soccer teams. The basketball team is well-known throughout campus, but what about the WCU ice hockey team? Although it is not a varsity sport, West Chester University has established a competitive ice hockey program as a club sport. This program has been around since the early ’70s. Because the team is not recognized as a varsity team, the program does not receive full funding and full support. The program also does not receive any money to award scholarships to prospective players. The managing staff also does not get paid, but rather volunteers their time to the program.
Head Coach Mark Gonsalves has been with the team for the past two years. Greg Rudinsky, assistant coach, has been a part of the program for the past ten years, while the general manager, Dom Bellizzie, has been with the team for the past nine years.
The Golden Rams are currently ranked third in the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association, ECHA. Out of the ten teams in this league, the top six will go to the playoffs at Navy in February. WCU is also ranked 15 in the nation, and with that standing, the team will be eligible for the American Collegiate Hockey Association, ACHA, which WCU will host at IceLine Arena in West Chester in March. Participants in the tournament will be the top teams in the nation, including Penn State, Illinois, and Rhode Island.
The 2005-2006 team has done fairly well throughout the season thus far. The team’s current record is 15-8-1, and they are coming off of two incredible victories over Rutgers. Friday night, the WCU defeated Rutgers with a four-goal lead, 7-3 at Rutgers’ home rink. Saturday evening, WCU hosted Rutgers at IceLine Arena. The team came away with an amazing 15-2 victory.
Saturday’s game got off to a slow start with not much happening during the first period. It wasn’t until there was only 3:11 left in the first period that the first goal of the game was scored.
The Golden Rams came back in the second period re-energized and just opened fire on the Rutgers’ team. WCU tallied four goals during the second period and only allowed Rutgers to tally two scores. These two goals would be the only times the Rutgers’ offense could get the puck past the Golden Rams goaltender.
At the beginning of the third period, the score was 5-2, but throughout the period, WCU was able to tally a total of ten goals to bring the score to 15-2 by the time the buzzer sounded at the end of the period and game.
The Golden Rams saw outstanding offensive plays from Joe Mango, Andy Rummel, Tom Waite, Joel Miller, Chris Wallin and Rob Troxxel. Bob Kenworthy and Bob Jones also had many strong defensive plays during Saturday’s game.
This Friday’s game against area rival, Delaware, should prove to be an exciting game for the fans and a tough fight for the Golden Rams. This match-up will be held at IceLine Arena in West Chester.