UAH-Robert Morris: A Battle of the unknown

(Photo Credit-Kelsey Lee Violet Turtle Photography)

This season in men’s college hockey will be like no other. Schedules have changed, travel limited, and most teams will be playing only teams in their conference. The opener for the Chargers has them playing a rare true non conference game against the Colonials of Robert Morris. This team competes in the always competitive Atlantic Hockey Association. Like the Chargers, the Colonials have a big group of new players coming in, with nine new additions to their roster. The Chargers, with new Head Coach Lance West, have 13 additions to their roster.

Reading through bios of players West helped recruit in the short time of tumult after the program was saved for this season, there seems to be a theme to the 12 skaters West brought to Huntsville. They are all team first, mostly two way players that will annoy the stuffing out of other teams. Watching some of them, like Yardley Pennsylvania native Frank Vittuci play in the OJHL for the Wellington Dukes, it is more evident that West is looking to this group to be the new tradition for the Chargers. The team has been in talks with Atlantic Hockey about joining after this season, and has a history of hardworking programs combined with unique and elite academics in key areas that make them a worthy candidate to join this conference next year. “Frank was an early target as he is a natural goal scorer,” SUNY Geneseo said on its Twitter account yesterday. “His breakaway speed and hockey IQ make him an instant threat.”Reading through bios of players West helped recruit in the short time of tumult after the program was saved for this season, there seems to be a theme to the 12 skaters West brought to Huntsville. They are all team first, mostly two way players that will annoy the stuffing out of other teams. Watching some of them, like Yardley Pennsylvania native Frank Vittuci play in the OJHL for the Wellington Dukes, it is more evident that West is looking to this group to be the new tradition for the Chargers. The team has been in talks with Atlantic Hockey about joining after this season, and has a history of hardworking programs combined with unique and elite academics in key areas that make them a worthy candidate to join this conference next year.

Back to Vittuci for a minute, he put up 108 points in 105 games with his Dukes and was not given a chance at the Division One Level until West brought him on this summer. The Division Three school that he had comitted to before a Division One look was given, SUNY Geneseo said ““Frank was an early target as he is a natural goal scorer…His breakaway speed and hockey IQ make him an instant threat.”

West has a roster of high character and high talent players that no one seems to have given much of a chance elsewhere at this level to play. Going back to the first series, which will happen on November 20, and 21st, what should you be looking to see from this team?

Well, West seems to want to replace the departed players with similarly tough players that can put up numbers with speed. The Chargers’ roster reads similarly to a school like Lake Superior State. Strong goaltending with David Fessenden, combined with a big bruising defense lead by newcomers like Ayodele Adeniye all go to how this team will play. If West sees what former bench boss, and current Colonials Assistant, Mike Corbett does, that the gap for most college hockey players between Division Three and one, this could be an interesting season for the Chargers. One of their biggest issues last year was staying out of the box, something that this team has to improve on, along with limiting quality shots. While UND beat this team 5-2 both nights last year, a lot of players from that team that provided the grit are still here. UAH was never blown out by a team that could have won a national championship because its structure guides how it plays.

Finally, when you watch this team play, remember, things will change, especially early on this season. 13 newcomers will come in and out of the lineup, and West knows what wining at UAH looks like from his time as a player here, and knows what needs to happen to secure a future for this team, in a town full of devoted fans to its success.

NOTE: We will be writing about UAH Hockey this year as part of the teams we cover, if you are a business or individual and want to help sponsor what we do and get new impressions around Chargers Hockey, click our paypal link here and send us a message about potential sponsorships.

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