Hockey begins season undefeated
This year's Marist club hockey team is playing with a chip on their shoulder. The locker room may have been fractured last year, but through the first month of the season, it is safe to say that there is no identity crisis this year.
Over the weekend, the Marist hockey team defeated Hudson Valley Community College 7-5, remaining undefeated and improving their record to 6-0-1 on the season.
"I thought we started the game slow, slower than any game this season. But I think as the game went on we got better and got back to our game," forward Chris Cerbino said. "Coach told us to settle down. We're an undefeated team and we're good enough to beat everyone, so he just told us to settle down. Get back to playing our game, hitting, shooting every chance we get and that's what we did."
It was no secret that the Red Foxes started noticeably slow against a team that they felt they were better than, but the calm, workmanlike, winning mentality found a way to rear its beautifully clichÃ©d head once again.
"We were slow, we had a very bad start and we needed to bring up the intensity," said head coach Bob Simmons. "I felt we were a better team and they were outworking us. That's what I told them: 'Let's get to work.'"
After trailing 2-1 after the first period, Marist outscored HVCC 6-4 through the final two periods, including a stretch in the second period where they scored three goals within 3:32 minutes of each other.
Forward Mike Chiacchia contributed two goals in the winning effort but acknowledged that the team still has some things on which to work.
"We definitely have to work on the defensive zone; we shouldn't have given up five goals to that team," Chiacchia said after the game. "We were moving the puck pretty well, we got a lot shots, and exploited the goalie pretty well, especially in the second [period]. But we definitely need to play better defense."
Up to this point, Marist has taken care of business, defeating teams they were supposed to defeat and defeating teams who have represented tall hurdles for the team in the past. The team's lone tie came in the opener against The College of New Jersey. Since then, the Red Foxes have rattled off six straight victories, including wins against Siena College and William Patterson University. Both schools finished 1-2 atop the Super East Collegiate Hockey League standings last season.
The Red Foxes have averaged almost six goals per game and have also received quality play from each of its goalies: Zach Gomiela, Tom Dorsey and Cody Capps, although Zach remains atop the depth chart.
"I think we have our number one in Zach," assistant coach Steve Williams said. "Zach is our go-to guy. He has played the big games so far, and that is the route we'll take."
Although the team's start has pleasantly exceeded expectations, that old clichÃ©d saying about sports says that the season is, in fact, a marathon and not a sprint.
"I think we're going to continue to play well," Williams said. "The guys are working hard and playing with a lot of intensity. They all seem motivated; they want to prove something from last year. I think we're going to keep this going."
And while it may be easy for the team to relax while they are undefeated, that is simply the very last thing on the players' minds.
"One of the things were not focusing on is our record," Simmons said. "We focus on what happens on the ice, and there is always area for improvement. The mindset from myself, to the captains, on down is that every game there is something we can improve on, and every practice there is something we can improve on. We will do the things that are necessary to improve on whatever area it needs that needs improving."
This upcoming weekend, the Red Foxes will play a home game against Vermont on Friday, at 9:15 p.m. at the McCann Ice Arena, and an away game against New Hampshire on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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