Photo Credit-Kelsey Lee- Violet Turtle Photography
AIC takes on the Wolverines of Michigan this Friday in the NCAA Tournament. While the Wolverines are a team full of stars with a lot of info about them, we’ve seen that there is not as much about AIC that is published so we’d like to talk about three quick things that would be good to know with AIC.
Their leading scorer’s path
Blake Bennett could not run a mile in time twice. First in his year of junior hockey with the Charlotte Rush, and then as a freshman. Blake is a player with a roller hockey background and one who is putting things together this year. He knows how to score with skill and finesse, and plays better defensively than we have talked about. Oh and he’s making his NCAA debut this weekend as he was not on the travel roster to Fargo last year. That is something that provided more motivation to him and lead to his best summer of development and the year he is having.
Their goaltender’s path and preparation
While Alec Calvaruso will be facing an NHL calibre goalie in Erik Portillo, Alec will be the one with more experience in college hockey. He is the first goalie in this sport to get his first shutout on his third team, and has played a platoon role for most of the season before the postseason. He is not the “backup” because Eric Lang used him about equally in starts this season.
Alec does prepare a bit more intense than some goalies may. We saw him taking a high volume of shots in the team’s morning skate before they faced Air Force in the Atlantic Hockey Conference Tournament Championship. He explained why, and credited goaltending coach Patrick Tabb as well. Alec said “ As much as i think preparation during the week is the biggest thing, I think morning skates are great for me. I just like to get out in the morning and build some confidence by seeing some simple shots from areas I will see during the game. I don’t do anything too crazy I just like to get up, get active, and feel the puck. Tabber has been awesome for me at morning skates, he gives me the confidence I need going into the game and knows what works best for me.”
More on Chris Theodore
The Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year has been key to helping this team. Theodore has speed and can move the puck in tight spaces. He may be one of the smaller players in college hockey, but he is a big voice and leader for this team. Earlier he took the time to talk to us about what AIC means to him and more. He is related to former NHL goalie Jose Theodore and talked a lot about his family, his long path to AIC, and more. He is one of the biggest mentors on this team and has helped underclassmen develop. When Head Coach Eric Lang talks about staying out of his team’s way, the leadership of Theodore is a big part of that.
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