Allegheny’s club hockey team lost its first game against Edinboro University of Pennsylvania 11-6 on Saturday, Oct. 15. Despite the loss, Club President Josh Cohen, ’18, said he was pleased with the team’s performance and is hopeful for future games.
“It was our first game of the season. They had already played three or four games, so they had a little more experience under their belt. We have a lot of new players. About half our team is either a freshman or guys who haven’t played on a team before,” Cohen said.
Cohen said another struggle the team has been dealing with over the last several years is finding a consistent coach, as the practices typically begin after 9:45 p.m., when the Meadville Area Recreation Complex is free.
“We’ve had a lot of coaches on and off. It’s just hard to get someone who can give up those late hours on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and [hours] all over the place on the weekend,” Cohen said.
Cohen said he comes up with drills and workouts to do during practices, often with help from goalie Hayden Moyer, ’17.
“We kind of just have to come up with what we want to work on and drills and things like that,” Cohen said. “We practice two nights a week, so the day of or the day before [practice] we’ll kind of just write up a practice plan.”
According to Cohen, the team has made progress in terms of size. The team roster currently includes about 15 players, which is larger than in years past.
“We just never had a large group of guys, but this year we got a lot of new players,” Cohen said.
According to defensive player Michael Clauss, ’17, the small roster was an issue last season. During one weekend in which they had two games and several players were injured, they were unable to play due to low numbers.
Cohen believes the team has the potential to do more this year because of its numbers. He said they already are playing better than last year.
“This is the best the team has looked I think since I’ve been on campus,” Cohen said, who has been on the team for three seasons.
Cohen also said that he believes the improvements have a lot to do with the strength new players brought to the team.
“I think one of the biggest things that’s helped us is all of the new guys who came in. Not just from a numbers standpoint, but also guys who have played before,” Cohen said. “A lot of the time, when we get new players, the skill level isn’t always really high. It’s just guys who have played a little bit and want to try it out. But this year, we have players that come from pretty competitive schools and programs.”
According to Cohen the team has had positive attitudes through the early practices and their most recent game. He said the players were competitive throughout, but at the end of the game Edinboro came out stronger.
“Just towards the end, they kind of ran away with it, but like, we went up, and we scored in the first 30 seconds of the game, so it was already 1-0 to start off. It was just very back and forth,” Cohen said.
That first goal, Cohen said, was scored by Francis Faiello, ’20. Faiello scored five of the six goals for Allegheny. The sixth goal was scored by Samuel Chibnall, ’17.
According to Moyer, Faiello was not the only new player who played well.
“I think the guys that were new showed that they can keep up in the league,” Moyer said.
Moyer said he believes the team’s weakest point was leaving too much space for their opponents to pass between and around them defensively.
“Hopefully this week, we’ll get a little bit more of an organized neutral zone game, defensively, because they were going through us in the neutral zone way too easily,” Moyer said.
Moyer, Clauss and Cohen agreed that penalties were an issue during the game as well.
“We got seven penalties during the game, so a lot of their goals were scored when we were down a man. So I think that staying out of the penalty box this week will be a big key, and also just playing a little more physical,” Cohen said.
Those penalties were from being out of practice, Cohen said, not unsportsmanlike conduct. He said that since they have been getting used to being on the ice again, he believes those penalties will occur less.
“The hope is to make the playoffs at the end of the season, and that’s something we think we can do this year. Edinboro is one of the much better teams in the league, and we think that we have a really good shot to win a lot of games down the road,” Cohen said.
According to Cohen, the atmosphere of practices and games has changed this season.
“Everyone is very positive, and we’re all working to change the culture around the club and the team from something that was just like, we just do it just to do it, to something we really care about” Cohen said.
The next club hockey game will be a second game against Edinboro on Friday, Oct. 21, at 9:30 p.m. in Jamestown, New York.