Kendrick Frost: Leading, learning, and growing at West Point

Photo Credit:Army Athletics

Kendrick Frost’s first goal felt like, as he said ” a big relief.” He hopes to keep things rolling from that, and he seemed relived to get that weight off his mind. In a way, Army West Point helped him deal with the adversity of taking into his third season before scoring his first goal. His biggest area of growth during his time as a cadet so far is in “dealing with adversity.”

As Frost also said of anyone’s time as a Cadet, “things don’t always go your way here… you’ve kind of got to learn how to deal with the pain a little bit and push through it.” Keep in mind, Frost did not play as a sophomore and could have easily transferred before officially incurring his service obligation that all third-year cadets incur. The transfer portal would have welcomed the 6’4″ power winger that Frost is. He arguably could be playing more minutes elsewhere this year had he left, given his size and skill at killing penalties,with providing the depth offense that he does.

Despite dealing with adversity, having limited minutes, and having to fight for his spot as a third year cadet, he choose to stay. Frost loves the bonds forged through adversity that this group has. Everyone has dealt with some form of restriction or limitation due to the pandemic. This group is also dealing with its own adversity, but as Frost said of its outlook ” I think we’re pretty fortunate to get back on the ice this Thursday” against Sacred Heart. He said ” we’re all looking forward to that opportunity to wash away the weekend.” He knows that the result does not change what happened at Bentley, but Frost thinks that this group can get on a positive footing before its final full series against RIT before its Holiday break.

Of his linemate, who has been together with him since they were plebes, and who sat out last year with him, Patrick Smyth, Frost said of playing with him ” its been good.” He likes playing with the biggest forward on the team, and appreciates the bond that he and Smyth have. Frost thinks that for him, the game is starting to slow down a bit more. He has adjusted to the college speed, and that adjustment takes time, but it has also allowed him to create more good looks for his linemates, and drive the offense when he is on the ice. In ten games this year he already has one more goal than he did in the past two seasons and needs one more point to equal his career total coming into the year. His one goal masks how productive his line has been from time to time at driving the physicality of play, and at wearing down other team’s skilled groups.

Of coming to West Point, Frost said that West Point saw him when he played for the Syracuse Junior Stars in the NCDC. Zach McKelvie contacted him first. Kendrick loves the family-oriented culture of Army West Point and said of the group he is with “its very similar to how I live my life”. He also credits the leader of the family, Colin Bilek, for setting the example in work ethic for the group on the ice, and he gives Head Coach Brian Riley all due credit for keeping things the same. That is Riley knows how to keep things going when things are going well, and because he knows how to keep the group motivated. Riley expects a lot out of his group, but also Frost knows that the group is all playing for Army West Point.

Playing hockey here is unlike playing for any other team in this sport, as the team is all playing for something much bigger than themselves. Frost is a natural leader, and his qualities of leadership have grown in the 47-month experience through dealing with the adversity of the pandemic. In addition, Frost has grown on the ice through learning from Bilek, playing with Smyth, and being around the big Army Hockey family that he is forever a part of.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Northeast Generals Player Profile: Matthew Nuzzolio

Head Coach of the NA3HL Generals, Daryl Locke, loves coaching players, and did not hold back when describing what Nuzzolio brings to the group.

He said “ Matt Nuzzolilo has been a beast of a player for us from day one. His compete level, skating, and skills are elite. Having coached him in youth hockey I knew what type of player we were getting. A great signing by our GM Bryan Erikson during the off season. Matt embodies everything we’re trying to establish here in The Generals organization, with our team first culture. What separates Matt from other players is his will to win. Matt does not except losing and never will. Matt along with Caiden Hess and Tyler Ramm have won numerous youth hockey championships with me. It’s hard to find player’s with that “it” factor. Matt is one of those players. He’s pound for pound one of the toughest players on the ice. He plays physical despite his 5’6 stature and loves the contact. He’s a high character player, who will be on scouts and college coaches lists before the season ends.” The Generals do not have any passengers in their undefeated group and Matt’s consistency is a big part of the reason why they are where they are.

Player Profile Questions and Answers

Who do you look up to most in your life and why?

I look up to my dad the most because he portrays a person that gets up and keep going no matter what has happened to him, and that is really important in life, is to not quit.”

What are your goals on and off the ice this year?

“On the ice I want to excel and become better, but overall we want to win a championship. Off the ice I want to become stronger, but I want to keep up with my education and prepare me for college.”

What is your favorite thing about the Generals?

“When you show up to the rink almost everyone wants to excel and go to the next level and there isn’t a better atmosphere than going to the rink and playing with kids who share the same passion.”

Which NHL player past or present do you model your game after?

“Recently I’ve been very intrigued in watching Cole Caufield because me and him both share the same stature for the most part, we are short, but he is fast has a great shot and plays both sides of the ice.”

Nuzzolio loves history, chicken parmesan, and learning more about how to get better in all phases of the game. His dedication to getting better and his development on and off the ice have helped his college profile improve. Where he plays next year, and how much better he can make the team this year are all linked to how much he improves.

Northeast Generals Thanksgiving Week in Review

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

This week, before thanksgiving the Generals had three games in their organization.

The NAHL group went 1-1 on the road in Maine against the Nordiques. Head Coach Bryan Erikson said of the two games, of which he was proud of his team’s play in. “I actually thought we played pretty well on Tuesday but we just didn’t get the bounces and Maine deserved to win. I thought todays game was a great rebound game. It was great to see a few players such as David Tolan get his first goal. The kid has elite skill and showed it this week. And Joey McGraw the youngest player in the year took a huge step forward this week. Really great to see with both of them. Our leaders also stepped up both on and off the ice. Hopefully the boys get to enjoy a few days off with family and then we get right back to work against the first place Black Bears.”

The NA3HL group remained undefeated putting home three shorthanded goals in a 5-0 win over Norwich. Head Coach Daryl Locke said of the effort “ The boys were ready today. The locker room was an electric atmosphere. Don’t know if it was because of the Thanksgiving break or the winning streak but they were ready. We put ourselves in a hole early with some undisciplined penalties. Payton Felix was a force on the penalty kill with 2 shorthanded goals. Matt Nuzzolilo added a shorthanded goal also. I don’t remember the last time we had three consecutive shorthanded goals maybe never in Generals history. I thought Tyler Ramm was our best player tonight. He was a physical force for us all game. He controlled the game with his size and reach. He played with a mean streak I haven’t seen since his U16 year. He had a nice goal cutting across the blue line shooting across his body. He has one of the quickest releases I’ve seen for his age group. Mason Joseph had another solid game with another shutout. He made some timely saves when called upon. I said it before and I’ll say it again. We have the best goalie tandem in the league. Mason and D’Mar have been lights out for us. Overall, a good start to the first quarter of the season. Now the boys can gather with their families for Thanksgiving and enjoy some much needed rest.”

NAHL Box Scores

Northeast Generals 2 at Maine Nordiques 4 – Status: Final
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 – The Colisee

Northeast 1 0 1 – 2
Maine 3 0 1 – 4

1st Period-1, Northeast, Gordon 8 (Scott, Cooper), 1:37. 2, Maine, Schmiedlin 3 (Green, Connor), 4:19. 3, Maine, Gibbons 2 (Wiberg, Kurrle), 5:19. 4, Maine, Schmiedlin 4 (Meiers, Bernardo), 15:46 (PP). Penalties-Schubert Nte (slashing-minor), 15:31; DesRochers Nte (interference-minor), 15:55; Pattison Mne (slashing-minor), 19:46.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Zezima Nte (tripping-minor), 1:39; Farrell Mne (cross checking-minor), 9:43; Despirt Nte (tripping-minor), 13:40; Jennersjö Nte (bench-minor), 15:57; Gaulin Mne (hooking-minor), 16:40.

3rd Period-5, Northeast, DesRochers 2 (McCarthy, Gordon), 7:53. 6, Maine, Schmiedlin 5 (Bernardo, Meiers), 13:59 (PP). Penalties-DesRochers Nte (slashing-minor), 2:32; Gaulin Mne (tripping-minor), 5:47; Cooper Nte (cross checking-minor), 11:54; Pellerin Mne (tripping-minor), 15:19.

Shots on Goal-Northeast 9-9-10-28. Maine 10-9-7-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Northeast 0 / 5; Maine 2 / 6.
Goalies-Northeast, DeYoung 8-4-0-0 (2 shots-0 saves); Anderson 0-1-0-0 (24 shots-22 saves). Maine, Sturtz 5-7-0-1 (28 shots-26 saves).
A-233
Referees-AJ Potvin.
Linesmen-Ben Gosselin, Corey Junkins.

Northeast Generals 5 at Maine Nordiques 3 – Status: Final
Wednesday, November 24, 2021 – The Colisee

Northeast 2 3 0 – 5
Maine 1 0 2 – 3

1st Period-1, Northeast, Tolan 1 (DesRochers, Gordon), 4:28. 2, Northeast, Schroeder 4 (Andreychuk, Keefer), 13:30. 3, Maine, Belov 5 (Fasig, Johnson), 15:27. Penalties-Johnson Mne (high sticking-double minor), 2:08; McGraw Nte (too many men-minor), 3:33; Bernardo Mne (slashing-minor), 6:15.

2nd Period-4, Northeast, Scott 10 (Gordon, Minnehan), 5:25. 5, Northeast, Andreychuk 10   10:41 (PS). 6, Northeast, Andreychuk 11 (Schroeder, Keefer), 12:30 (PP). Penalties-Meiers Mne (boarding-minor), 11:21; Boczar Nte (roughing-minor), 19:04.

3rd Period-7, Maine, Gibbons 3 (Johnson), 2:33. 8, Maine, Pattison 2 (Meiers, Green), 4:06 (PP). Penalties-Andreychuk Nte (tripping-minor), 3:57; McCarthy Nte (tripping-minor), 14:10; McGraw Nte (high sticking-minor), 18:27.

Shots on Goal-Northeast 17-15-7-39. Maine 10-10-17-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Northeast 1 / 0; Maine 1 / 0.
Goalies-Northeast, DeYoung 8-4-0-0 (37 shots-34 saves). Maine, Sturtz 5-7-0-1 (28 shots-23 saves); Holt 3-5-0-1 (11 shots-11 saves).
A-
Referees-AJ Potvin.
Linesmen-Ben Gosselin, Corey Junkins.

NA3HL Box Score

Northeast Generals 5 at Norwich Sea Captains 0 – Status: Final
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 – RoseGarden Ice Arena

Northeast 1 4 0 – 5
Norwich 0 0 0 – 0

1st Period-1, Northeast, Felix 10   6:38 (SH). Penalties-Lambert Net (charging-minor), 5:19; Harwell Nsc (unsportsmanlike conduct-minor), 13:34.

2nd Period-2, Northeast, Felix 11   4:47 (SH). 3, Northeast, Nuzzolilo 7 (Hess, Crisp), 6:14 (SH). 4, Northeast, Ramm 7 (Wracker, Lamphear), 17:08. 5, Northeast, Murphy 11 (McNamee), 19:20. Penalties-Lambert Net (high sticking-minor), 3:58; Sinople Net (head contact-minor), 5:46; Ramm Net (elbowing-minor), 13:50.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Kennedy Net (fighting-major, fighting-ej), 7:17; Murphy Net (fighting-major, fighting-ej), 7:17; Morran Nsc (fighting-major, fighting-ej), 7:17; Schemmel Nsc (fighting-major, fighting-ej), 7:17; Hess Net (cross checking-minor, unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct), 9:49; Manahan Nsc (cross checking-minor, unsportsmanlike conduct-10 minute misconduct), 9:49; Mulligan Net (fighting-major), 14:41; Tapia Nsc (fighting-major), 14:41; Mulligan Net (fighting-10 misc), 14:45; Tapia Nsc (fighting-10 misc), 14:45; Lubin Net (interference-minor), 15:17; Sinople Net (interference-minor), 16:02.

Shots on Goal-Northeast 20-9-16-45. Norwich 6-8-6-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Northeast 0 / 1; Norwich 0 / 6.
Goalies-Northeast, Joseph 9-0-0-0 (20 shots-20 saves). Norwich, Yocum 0-6-0-0 (29 shots-24 saves); Pellerito 1-5-1-0 (16 shots-16 saves).
A-33
Referees-Shane Kanaly.
Linesmen-Michael Deperrio, Chris Baron.

Deja Vu all over again: Bentley 5 Army West Point 0, Now what?

Photo Credit: Mady Salvani -Army West Point Athletics

For Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie, he knows his Black Knights did not play well tonight. However he was also measured with his responses and shows a belief in his group, and for good reason. This weekend, his group had a fair amount of good looks each night, but only got one goal in the opener with none today. Both nights the group went down 2-0 in the first period on one nice goal and one seeing eye goal.

Hear McKelvie’s thoughts on the key parts of the game.

Where did things go wrong today?

“Bentley was more prepared to play on the weekend, they went up early and we didn’t really have a push back. Tonight we had a bad read on the first goal which happens so nothing you can’t recover from but then the very next draw they got a fortunate bounce on a dump in and we are down 2-0 in seven seconds. After the start last night that really got in our heads and we were out of sorts the rest of the night.”

How do you choose whose in net on Thursday after a game like that?

“We have capable goalies, so we know Thursday all three of them will be ready to go if called upon. We will rewatch the game, reflect on it and give coach our opinion on line up decisions.”

Given Justin’s start to the season, how big was it for him to play as well as he did when he came in?

“That’s a tough position for any goalie but he came in and stopped the bleeding. When you change goalies you hope to get a bump from the boys but we didn’t tonight. Regardless Justin came in and managed the rest of game well.”

How frustrating for you guys is it that you’ve generated chances, quality looks all weekend, but have one goal to show for it?

“It’s frustrating for sure but all our guys have pride and we will figure it out together. From coaches on down it’s a waste of energy to dwell on missed opportunities, but as a group we need to come together and build our confidence back up. Every guy on our team has scored, so it’s just about getting back on the ice and working….that’s ultimately how you get your confidence back.”

Is there a temptation to put every line and pair in a blender after a result like today?

“Sure there is. But it has to be well thought out, you can’t just make line up decisions on emotion. So we will reassess and make changes that we feel will give us the best opportunity to play well next game. Regardless of our lines, our guys will be ready to go…this group has great leaders and a ton of conviction.”

Who starts in net on Thursday?

“Not sure yet.”

Are there any good things to take from this one?

“This is a hard league, very good coaches and good players on every team. To win you have to bring it every weekend.”

Add anything else you like, including comments on Coach Riley’s 600th game as Army West Point’s Head Coach

“Coach Riley is a great coach, leader, mentor, and friend. The amount of people he has positively influenced throughout the years is immeasurable as the impact goes far beyond hockey. It’s awesome to have the opportunity to be around him and learn from him on a daily basis.”

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Mercyhurst hangs with OSU, comes away with 3-2 loss: What comes next

“ We hung around”

Mercyhurst Lakers Head Coach Rick Gotkin was direct with how both Mercyhurst and Ohio State did. The NCAA Tournament like game nearly saw the Atlantic Hockey side win another game against the Buckeyes. However on a day where their football team could not win, the Buckeyes hung on to secure a 3-2 win against a Mercyhurst team that nearly swept them missing three of their top scorers.

“ I don’t think either team got much going .” He summed up the night well with that that thought.

“I thought our best stretch was the first 10 minutes of the third period.” He didn’t knock the rest of the effort from his team but felt that was where most of the high danger chances were generated.

Gotkin praised the effort of Mickey Burns, the Vermont transfer, who put home a power play goal, called him a “ pleasant suprise for us.” He also talked about the play of Noah Kane and several others as being superb this weekend and behind.

“ We did some good things.” Praised goaltending from Kyle McClellan tonight, and goaltending on the weekend. McClellan like Johnson is laid back and calm in the net. Gotkin said “ we’re blessed, we’ve got two guys that can flat out win Hockey games for us, the challenge has been getting run support for those guys.” On the night, Gotkin was proud that”we came back twice today.” The Lakers have shown the ability to hang with any team of any skill level in the country this year. How many goals this team can score will, as Gotkin likes, determine their fate. This team is built to score four or more goals a night and make the opponent feel lucky to score two, when it’s humming.

On the lineup, other than stating McClellan, Gotkin made no other changes as the staff wanted to stick with what got them the win last night.

He did say that, “We really thought long and hard about trying.. to get in Carson Briere and a couple of other players.”

Now they prepare for Bentley. “ it’s a little bit tougher to win in conference.” “The price of play goes up.” The games have more emotion and built in intensity to them. Gotkin knows that Bentley’s feats of strength this year make them conference front runner contenders. He expects it to be harder than playing Ohio State on the road. For the skill of Mercyhurst they have to play through the grit of Bentley. “We’re going to have to skate, we’re going to have to make plays and use our feet.” “You give them enough looks on the power play .. they’ve got some guys that can hurt you. We really try to focus on what we do.” If the Lakers can steer their ship of skill and speed through Waltham, Massachusetts next weekend with some of their top talent back, all outcomes are on the table.

What a difference a day makes: AIC 3 Canisius 2

Photo credit: Boston College Athletic Communications

Head Coach Eric Lang was proud of the way his AIC group responded against Canisius. The focus and effort began early in the morning. Lang said “ I love the way we went about it. We challenged our group this morning. It was the toughest team meeting we have had in a number of years. The guys responded. They care they are invested and we have the potential to get this thing going. I like we had to do it with some adversity.I am extremely proud of our team.”

He also praised his team leadership group of players , saying “I like the angry version of our team today. We feel like we gave away 3 points the day before. Our leadership took ownership and that’s what it looks like.”

Today, AIC earned a tough 3-2 win over the Golden Griffins of Canisius. Unlike yesterday, they took advantage of special teams and momentum to generate looks. Their first goal came from Luka Maver, just after AIC killed off a power play, and as they were working to build toward a split. At near the end of the game Blake Bennett put home a breakaway to provide the game winning goal. The Golden Griffins battled but could not find the equalizer.

Assistant Coach Matthew Woodard talked about the game saying the following.

On the two misconducts that Chris Vanos-Shaw and Blake Bennett took.

“We will have to discuss with both of the players, but we never want our guys putting themselves in that position where emotion takes over.”Lang added of the penalties “Unnecessary. We are building trust as a team . Emotional players are players you want to avoid at the end of games.”

On the sterling 16 save performance from Alec Cavalruso,Woddard added the following “Alec has continued to pr in between the pipes. He stayed calmed when the Griffins put some pressure on us. Alec has put a lot work in on and off the ice. We are extremely happy that he has found his first win between the pipes as a Yellow Jacket.” Lang added “ AC has been awesome in every game he has played this season. He has put in the work and is certainly getting what he deserves. He’s building our trust. He’s very calm and composed in net and can make the big save. He got dinged up in the end of the game and without a doubt wants to stay in there and close it out. “

Woodard said “Effort was really good. Especially after a very tough loss yesterday. We knew it wasn’t going to pretty, but we knew the effort had to be there for us to have success today.”

On Bennett’s goal Woodard added, Blake is a goal scorer, there’s not many other guys I’d want in that position, great finish on a really good keeper.” Lang said “ Blake can score in his sleep. We know that about him. He has developed in his 5v5 play. Thus he’s playing more. He knows he has work to do.”

“ I thought after getting a major yesterday, our Captain Parker Revering bounced back and had an excellent 200ft game.” Parker added an assist and played a good bounce back game. Lang added “Luis Lidner was excellent. Brian Kramer looks back to himself. Jake Stella continues to be one of the top two way players in our league. Maver Riggs and Dodero were almost unstoppable today.”

Woodard added of the penalty kill, “the kill really struggled yesterday. Canisius has a dangerous power play, one of the best we’ve seen all year. To bounce back today with some good kills was huge, and to create offense right after a big kill always helps. That was a good finish by Maver. Lang praised the penalty kill’s work including the adjustments Woodward helped make to get the group going today.

Going forward, the group has UConn to prepare for in two weeks. Lang said “ Good time for a bye-week. They won’t hear much from me this week. Our UConn preparation has already begun.”

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

A Carnival of Special Teams: How AIC lost to Canisius 6-5 and what comes next

Photo Credit Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

For AIC, and Head Coach Eric Lang’s group, if you told them that they’d go up to a 4-1 lead against Canisius with a chance to put the game firmly in their grasp, we think most of then would have taken it. The Golden Griffins are playing without Randy Hernandez in the lineup, and AIC out worked them for large portions of the game.

It wasn’t enough as Canisius was systematic with its special teams, putting home four power play goals , leading to a very unhappy Head Coach Eric Lang.

On the night he said that “ the only thing disappointing is that we are not playing to our potential.” Every chance AIC had to add insurance, they were unable to when the game was 4-1. They then proceeded to take multiple penalties , totaling 44 penalty minutes on the night, conceding four power play goals on the night. That alone was enough to doom the Yellow Jackets

Here’s what to watch for today

The first line

The best group from the opener was the line with Chris Dodero, Jake Stella,and Justin Young. Dodero had two assists and Stella had two goals. Behind that, there were not a lot of good things to write home about, especially the five minute major and game misconduct that Parker Revering took.

No passengers

This is a cliched phrase in this sport to some degree, but it was clear as yesterday’s game went on that more and more of the team was waiting on just a few who were carrying the group to do better. That cannot repeat itself this afternoon.

“ At some point we are what our record says we are.” Head Coach Eric Lang was very honest about this team. He has seen what they can do at times this year, but they need to string together success over longer periods of time. All they can do is try and restart the string today.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Army shows promise but comes up just short 3-1 against Bentley : Now What?

Photo Credit: Mady Salvani- Army West Point Athletics

For Army West Point, they came out against the Bentley Falcons strong. They were generating high-danger chances and quality looks through the first period. Gavin Abric played well, save conceding a goal on an athletic , and fast play from Kohei Sato, and a seeing eye shot later in the frame. The Black Knights just could not buy a goal for most of the game. Coach Brian Riley was honest in saying regarding, the first period “ we didn’t play too bad but we were down 2-0.”

The best moment of the evening for the Black Knights came in the second. Ricky Lyle made a superb individual play as he took the puck off a Falcon’s stick from behind the net and wrapped it into the net late in the second. That gave the Black Knights a goal and some hope heading into the third frame.

The third period started well, but did not produce results as the score of 3-1 in favor of the Falcons remained final. The biggest factor against the Black Knights came midway through the third period. Coby Mack got a checking from behind major with a little over eight minutes left in the game and it sapped momentum from the Black Knights. On the Coby Mack checking from behind major, Riley challenged a check from behind just before that and it was not given as a penalty.

On the night Riley was blunt, “ it’s hard to beat anybody when you only score one goal.” He praised Gavin Abric for keeping his team in the game all night in net.

For the series finale, Riley noted that his team has to get better at breaking the puck out. Bentley takes unclean breakouts and goes the other way quite frequently.

Riley praised the individual play of Ricky Lyle on his goal. “ that goal had a positive effect on us.” It gave the team more drive and energy going into the third period. Hopefully Lyle’s energy and the team’s effort, which was there last night, can produce better results. The effort was there, the results were not. For that to change, this team has to produce more chances, and focus on changing angles of attack for whomever Bentley puts in net today. If they can do that, they have a chance to come home on Thursday night against Sacred Heart and earn a final conference win before Christmas break.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Mercyhurst earns 5-4 win over OSU:Now what?

After a slow start, the Lakers of Mercyhurst worked to earn a 5-4 win over number 17 ranked Ohio State on the road. Head Coach Rick Gotkin did note that the team did not have a morning skate today, and that while he is proud of this group he wants to see more reform them going forward.If the Lakers can get more good non conference fortunes then their postseason outlook improved even more

Mercyhurst did this while still missing two key players Carson Briere and Dante Sheriff. Gotkin wants to get Briere back in as early as tomorrow, but he’s unsure on timing as he wants all of his players to come back at full strength. “With that said we also need them to play a little bit.. it’s kind of a double edged sword.

Moving forward Gotkin understands what neeeds “ We know the formula to winning games against nationally ranked teams.” Good goaltending., staying out of the box and capitalizing on opportunities are all needs to win again tomorrow night. He praised netminder Hank Jo play, saying “Hank Johnson is such a calm, even tempered young man and he’s also a very good goaltender on top of it.” That demeanor helps Gotkin’s team push forward for goals. “ Our teams have always been built on skilled guys.”

Gotkin was impressed with how well his team despite going on defense throughout the third periodbm“ We really knew that Ohio State wasnt going to go away quietly… as tough as it was to give up those goals it was good to get it done.” Somehow Mercyhurst has scored ten goals in two games, without a lot of their key scorers in the lineup.

Gotkin said “it’s still early in the year but we’re moving in the right direction.”

“When you go up against nationally ranked teams ( and get the win) its a really good thing.” “This group was very happy after the game but the bus ride to the hotel was pretty subdued, they expect to win. It’s very satisfying to win but we are not satisfied.”

Rick Gotkin: Leading the Lakers forward humbly

“ I’ve been at the same school a long time and that’s been a blessing, to work at the same school for the last 35 years. With that I work with great assistant coaches, and student athletes. I just steer the ship a little bit, it’s about the student athletes. They’re the ones that make us look good.”

Rick Gotkin has been steering the ship of Mercyhurst Laker Hockey for the past 35 years and remains as humble as ever about his opportunity.

To start the year, Head Coach of the Mercyhurst Lakers Rick Gotkin’s group went to Minnesota to face the Golden Gophers and did not look out of place. Both nights the Lakers hung around and forced Minnesota to play in a tight game on their opener, or come back from behind to win in the finale. Gotkin built his team to be ready for that moment as she said “we try to find guys that score goals, and play fast, and then we teach them how to defend.”

In a conference full of tight checking defensive teams winning 2-1 games with not many chances, Gotkin is comfortable building groups of speed and skill that like playing fast and winning run and gun games. He has been at Mercyhurst for all but one year of the program’s existence so it seems clear he is on to something. He loves for his program to play big schools when possible, even only as away games in part to “spread the gospel of Mercyhurst Hockey.” Next year, his group doesn’t have any of those games but they will see Ohio State coming to Erie for two, a home and home with Penn State , alao RPI twice at home , and Clarkson twice on the road.

On the Minnesota weekend Gotkin said “ That’s a great environment to go into and out guys really embraced it. We were disappointed in the final result , and we felt like it was much closer than the score. He did praise the experience for bringing the group together saying, we felt as good as good as you can without winning.”

Most of his key players should be back soon that were scratched from the weekend. He expects Steve Ipri, Carson Briere, and Dante Sheriff back soon. Mercyhurst earned a split without all three of that group in Saturday’s game against Canisius.

Going forward, Gotkin doesn’t really have a set lineup yet. He said with picking who plays, at full strength, Gotkin said “ we really haven’t set our top 12 forwards yet.” His staff is still “ trying to see what people can do.”

Once his group is at full strength Gotkin said “ once we get healthy we have some big decisions to make, if we make the right ones we can be pretty good.”

Going forward for Gotkin, building the identity of Mercyhurst hockey is always the driving force year to year.

On staying in Mercyhurst for so long Gotkin added “ I think there’s a lot of reasons.” His wife is from Erie, kids were born and raised in Erie and are Mercyhurst graduates. The town has provided “a lifestyle we really love.”

Gotkin’s group has a tough road series against Ohio State coming this weekend. As the Lakers get their skilled players back into the lineup, look for them to continue to surprise people this season, much in the way they out performed expectations against Minnesota.

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