The West Chester Ice Hockey team has had a rough start to their 2014-2015 season, winning only three of their 16 games. This year, some of the teams in the D-1 ACHA seem a step above the rest.
On Nov. 7 and 8, the Rams faced off against Lebanon Valley College for a two game bout that Lebanon Valley would control. The first game was a tough loss, with a score of 2-3. The Rams were unsuccessful on all four of their power plays, which seems to be a common occurrence for the team. Tyler Whitacre opened up the scoring for the game with an assist from James Muncie.
The Flying Dutchmen answered back with two quick goals in the first period, one on a power play. John Mango scored a beautiful unassisted goal, which would be the only goal of the second period. The Rams held the Flying Dutchmen to an even score until 1:11 left in the third, when Paul Hefferin scored to seal the win for Lebanon Valley.
The second game of the weekend would be far less promising for West Chester. They would end up losing 5-1. A big contributing factor was the lack of discipline on the ice by the Rams. They received four minors and one major, resulting in the ejection of Adrian Case. The Flying Dutchmen stifled the Golden Rams’ power play, and did not give up a single goal while down a man. John Mango led the team, scoring the only goal for the Rams. The Golden Rams put 23 shots on net, but the Dutchmen’s goaltender would shut down 22 of them.
West Chester has not beaten a team more than two times all season. The teams that they have beaten usually take very high scoring victories over them in the other games they play. That is, in part, due to the poor specialty squads. The power play and short-handed efforts have not been there for the Rams this year.
Discipline has killed the team’s chances and they wont get any better if the discipline doesn’t improve. It’s really hard to win a game with only four men on the ice. On the other side of the coin, the man up chances are not being taken advantage of. The power play lines have been incredibly unsuccessful this entire season. Take the Lebanon Valley games as a very good example. The Golden Rams were unsuccessful on all 10 of their power play chances. Those need to be the bread and butter of the offense. Scoring on a power play needs to become second nature for the men of West Chester’s team.
In addition, the scoring needs to be more spread out amongst the team. There are currently two players leading the scoring, Justin Finnerty with seven goals and James Davis with six. Both players are also up in the stat book for assists, having five. Finnerty and Davis are the only players with more than three goals. 11 players on the roster have registered three or less goals and nine have yet to register any. A team with so much talent needs to have more depth in the scoring column. More players need to be finding the back of the net. They are getting the chances and just not finding the holes in the goalie.
Also, the Rams are usually being out shot by very large amounts. If the other team is getting 30 shots on net, compared to 15 like the Rams, clearly the team with 30 shots has a better chance of scoring.
The Golden Rams have a very promising roster, that with some hard work and fine tuning, could turn the season around, salvaging what they can by putting up a fight in every game for the duration of the season.
By spreading the wealth, staying out of the penalty box, and scoring on man up situations, the Rams can really do some great things in the league. The rest of their season should be relatively manageable. No games will be handed to them, but if they play to their full potential, they will be right there for the taking. Hopefully, in the upcoming weeks, a big turn-will be coming for the West Chester Ice Hockey team.
Bryce Livers is a second-year student majoring in communications. He can be reached at BL810873@wcupa.edu