Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Although AIC Hockey Head Coach Eric Lang is never going to be a fan of three on three overtime, he was happy for the play that Chris Dodero made in it to setup the Luis Lindner goal. Dodero backchecked hard through the neutral zone, swiped the puck off a Purple Eagle’s stick and pushed it ahead.
He found Lindner skating down the off side who put the puck past Chad Veltri to give AIC the win. Lindner has seen Dodero make that swipe against him many times in practice and praised Dodero’s effort in the play.
Niagara pushed AIC to the brink again, but today the Yellow Jackets earned the win in overtime. While the points to AIC did not affect the standings, it showed again that this group was able to answer back after a performance they felt that they were better than. Lang said that this senior class of 11 was a big part in developing the “conveyor belt of winning” that AIC is becoming known for. Of the five year players that stuck around for this season Lang added that “ they’re like sons to me.”
As AIC works to get ready for the postseason in two weeks where they will face the lowest remaining first round winner ( they could play Niagara, Bentley, or Holy Cross in a series at Olympia Ice Center) Lang noted that his team is used to this first round bye. Unlike so many of the stoppages AIC has dealt with for two years, this one is their first routine one in a while. The team will use this time to work on skills and stay fresh while getting some rest next weekend. As for their opponent, Lang noted again how good this conference is. As Lang often likes to say, there is no bottom. Any team AIC could face in two weeks has taken points from them this season at some point, and has their own formula to try and keep AIC from winning another conference tournament.
Everything is fresh, everything is new in the postseason, and this team cannot take anything for granted as Lang and his group know. The task for every team making it to the quarterfinals is straight forward, win four games and you are in the NCAA tournament.
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