Coming off a rough weekend at their Ohio showcase, the WCU Men’s Club Hockey team looked to start fresh and pull their record back above .500 with a home-in-home series against University of Delaware. Unfortunately the skid continued as the Rams were beaten badly in both games by scores that should not be seen in a hockey game.
Friday night started off fairly harmlessly as the first period ended with a 1-0 deficit for the Rams. Matt Murnane let in a wrap around goal, but it was not dwelled upon, and the team looked to come out with a strong second period. As the second started, the Rams were still very much in the game.
Things quickly turned for the worse as the intensity never picked up after the first. The defense did not show up for the game, as Delaware put home 10 goals on 61 shots in the game. The lack of defense came from two key sources Friday night. While Murnane let in some shots that could have been corralled, the defense gave him no chance when Delaware kept finding high quality shots.
Goalie Matt Murnane said, “Seeing that many high quality shots is very difficult, which is what Parra and I faced, and the score tells us we walked in unprepared.”
When a team has that many high quality shots no goaltender can shut them down, which Delaware proved quickly.
“We came out in the 2nd period and stopped skating,” Murnane said.”I let up a few goals I should have stopped as well as a few hopeless goals”.
Normally a goose egg in the goal column is something to be addressed, but the defense did not allow the Rams to even keep themselves in the game. Game one ended rough, but the team knew what they needed to fix and had a day to get ready and come back strong against the exact same team.
Saturday’s game faired no better. The game played out almost exactly the same as the night before. Will Parra started in the net and did a nice job keeping the team in the game through the second period, when once again the defense seemed to have been left in the locker room.
The Ram’s were routed in the second half of the game as the final score showed yet another double-digit offensive showing in a 12-2 loss. The offense showed a little life as Steve Meade and Joe Mango found the back of the net on assists by John Reitz, James Kuhlman, and Tim Higgins. However, no offensive showing can compete with 12 goals.
For the weekend, the goalies had a .862 save percentage, which is sub par, but the fact that 121 shots were taken shows that Delaware was around the goal way more than an acceptable amount.
A worried Coach Dorsey attributes the losses not just to a lack of defense this weekend, but also to a mentally unprepared team. “Our current slide that we are on is due completely to lack of effort. There has been a terrible lack in consistency in the effort department, and until that improves, we are going to continue to plummet,” coach Dorsey said.
A dismayed Dorsey went on to say, “This is the biggest reason why our scores have looked lopsided lately, and as a coach it is very disheartening to see my guys just quit.”
“I’ll never be a person that accepts losing, but I think that I could tolerate it more if the guys were working hard consistently.”
Losing this badly is tough to swallow, but it is even worse when the team shows up flat and gives up when faced with adversity.
The Ram’s need to start by taking the positives from their games and building on them.
Many times when a game or series of games goes roughly, there is a positive to take from it. Even though this weekend went terribly wrong, at least one positive was found among the ruins.
“The only positive we got out of this past weekend was we realized how hard we need to work to keep up with the talent in our league, this is the turning point in our season,” Matt Murnane said.
There is nothing that can be done about past games except forget them and learn from the mistakes that were made.
In order for the Rams to end this losing streak, they need to come out physically and mentally sound next weekend and play tight defense, forcing ineffective shots.
Their goalies will keep them in the game as they have shown they can in the past. Coming out with intensity will set the tone and make everyone feel like they have a shot, and, in turn, will make the team play a much more fundamentally sound game.
There is no problem with going back to the basics, especially when a team is scored on 20 times in two games. The key for this team will be to come out of the locker room after every period giving 110 percent. They seem to have it early in games but their drive weakens as the periods go on.
As Murnane mentioned previously, “this is the turning point in our season,” and that is exactly the attitude that is needed to help take this team from the cellar back up to the top. The climb begins now.
Kenny Ayres is a first-year student. majoring in communications. He can be reached at KA739433@wcupa.edu.