Mercyhurst Head Coach Rick Gotkin has been through a lot this season as has his team. In the Lakers’ first half they pushed a team stacked with potential olympians in Minnesota to the brink, playing a high flying opening series. They they earned, among other things, a split with the always formidable Canisius Golden Griffins, and with Big 10 foe Ohio State.
The team added defender Dusty Gergach from the Johnston Tomshawks as well. Gotkin said “We like Dusty a lot. He was a guy that we had on our radar for down the road. He was getting interest from a number of schools in his league. Initially he added “I really thought having 10 defensemen on our roster would be too many.” Gotkin also added that Wyatt Head is no longer with the team. He credits Johnstown and Gergach’s advisor for the quick transition and finished his second practice with the team today. “ in a perfect world we would have waited. We felt like we had to protect our team.”
Gotkin did discuss the status of his team relations to Covid 19. They have all had a full initial vaccine regimen and a number of Gotkin’s players are boosted, “I think we are in decent shape that way.” All players had to test and his team is down seven players. Hank Johnson and Matt Lenz are on the trip and the team as goaltenders. The team is down five from his expectation. They plan is also to play Dalton Hunter who will also be with the team. All of Gotkin’s players who have tested positive via PCR tests are asymptomatic. The team is down to 20 players from the 25 where they wanted to be.
On the ice, Gotkin and his staff have been focusing on bringing the group together and getting ready for the weekend. Gotkin wanted to play in the Ledyard Classic because “ it’s an absolutely great tournament, great people, and a great part of the world. When they invited us back we were excited to come. It’s going to be a great test for us.”
Gotkin also took the time to praise the testing process and his his administration is keeping good care of the folks that test positive “it was very efficient the way they did it.” Gotkin was praising his administration for keeping his team and players safe and hoping to maybe get some of his players back for the weekend. Gotkin talked to each player who tested positive from the bus today. They all have support systems in place to ensure that their needs are being taken care of.
As for their first opponent “ they’re Boston College, as long as Jerry York is running the show.. they will be a very good team… we’re going to have to get very good goaltending, capitalize on the chances we get, and stay out of the penalty box.” The second half of the season presents a unique start to it that should setup the Lakers for more challenges later on in the calendar.