Stevenson’s men’s ice hockey team is now 4-2 after facing Nazareth and Utica Colleges this past weekend. After a 4-3 win against Nazareth College, the team traveled to Utica College where they suffered their second loss of the season.
Against Nazareth on Nov. 12, Stevenson had a tough first period with no goals, but was able to get on the board in the second period after junior Jordan Watt scored. Minutes later, junior Doug Rose scored his first goal of the season on a power play to add to the board for the Mustangs. Freshmen Dominic Brenza and Christian Ripley both helped the Mustangs take the lead and earn the win against Nazareth.
In the game against No. 9 Utica on Nov. 13, the Mustangs fought hard, but were unable to come back from the two-goal deficit. Freshman Nick Bohatiuk was the only player to score in the 4-2 loss to the Pioneers.
Head coach Dominick Dawes said that every game is a challenge, since the team is playing in the most competitive conference in the country. However, he does not let this fact get inside the players’ heads.
“If we go out there and work hard every night and don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, then we will have a chance to compete and a chance to win,” Dawes said.
Freshman Colton McMenamin described losing as a way to get better.
“Losing to these top, established programs is how we are going to learn what it takes to reach that top level as a group, and with that it creates a struggle that allows us to come closer together as a group,” he said.
The Mustangs faced the No. 5 team, Hobart College, before taking on Utica, so the team was well prepared with what to expect. Dawes explained that the biggest goal for the Mustangs this year is to “establish a foundation of hard work and mental toughness.” Without either of these, he believes the team will not be successful.
At the beginning of the season, the hockey team was split into two squads, varsity and JV, since they had enough players to field two teams. Dawes explained how he is aware that the players on the JV team don’t want to be there, but even still, he added, they’ve done a terrific job coming to practice and proving themselves.
The team has supported each other, no matter if they are on the JV or varsity team. Dawes noted that there are players on the JV who are practicing with the varsity almost every day, and he has already made changes to the roster. The JV players have the opportunity to play and prove themselves to their coaches and their teammates.