After the inaugural season for the men’s ice hockey team, the Mustangs will take their first international trip to the French Alps from Dec. 15-23. NCAA teams at Stevenson have the opportunity to take one trip every three years. The men’s ice hockey team is using the opportunity not only to stay in game shape when returning to regular season in January, but to gain experience facing professional competition.
Second-year head coach Dominick Dawes will continue to determine which players will be the best fit for a winning roster. “In reality, some guys are going to outwork other guys. We want that competitive environment to prepare us for when the clock turns on,” he said.
The Mustangs will depart from the United States on Dec. 15 and are expected to arrive in France the next morning. The team will stay in the French Alps the first days and will then go to Geneva, Switzerland.
Mont Blanc Saint-Gervais, a former member of the France League III, Division II, ended their 2016-2017 campaign with a record of 18-13-5 before losing in the final round. The loss in the finals did, however, result in a promotion to Division I.
Val-Vanoise is a France League II, Division I team who went 24-8-9 last season before losing in the league semifinals. The Mustangs will face off against Val-Vanoise Dec. 18 and 20.
Chamonix is a member of SaxoPrint Magnus, France’s top ice hockey league.
The final game for the Mustangs will be against Neuchatel Young Sprinters from Swiss Division 3. The young Sprinters came in last place in their division with a record of 21-2-9.
The Mustangs are returning with a majority of their team from last season, but with an additional eight new players. They ended the season with a record of 10-14-2. The goal was to make the playoffs and finish ahead of the established programs, which was accomplished. Dawes believes the team can improve this season.
“We didn’t talk a lot last season about wins and losses; we focused more on establishing a foundation for what the future holds,” said Dawes. The Mustangs ended with a 4-9-1 record in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) play in the previous season, finishing in the bottom half of the standings.
The UCHC is a new conference and will be the ice hockey team’s primary conference. It consists of ten universities, eight from the ECAC West and two expansion teams, Chatham University and Kings College.
Stevenson opens the season taking on the Morrisville State Mustangs again, this time away Saturday, Oct. 28. Stevenson defeated Morrisville in the season opener last season, 7-1. The Stevenson Mustangs dominated, out-shooting the opposition 51- 13 and creating more power-play opportunities, going 5 for 15.
Stevenson will play 12 games through the rest of the season before the European trip over break. The Mustangs’ last home game before the trip will be against Neuman on Dec. 1 and the team will not return home until Jan. 10, taking on SUNY Canton at the Reisterstown Sportsplex.