Photo credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
For a team that was hovering around .500, the Yellow Jackets of AIC sure did not play like it. The young team defeated the Falcons with poise and style throughout. Nick Cardelli punctuated the night with a hat trick on a feed from Jordan Biro. Cardelli made a smooth move and got to goal fast and did not miss. Let’s talk about a couple of things in this one.
There is no singular stat that measures this idea of compete. No one moment in this game meant that AIC competed better than Bentley. What lead to that was a series of small moments the team was purposeful in winning that got them to get away from the on-and-off level of compete they have shown in their losses. The most summative moment for the psyche of the team came without fan fare. With the game in hand, Jake Rosenbaum slid to block a shot out up five goals. Those are the types of teaching moments Head Coach Eric Lang will show recruits and players for years to say “this is AIC Hockey.” This team when it rolls gets the small details right. Tonight it did.
Willing to wait for it
This staff is big on developing people and players on and off the ice. Tonight, two stars for AIC, Cardelli and Jarrett Fiske, lead the way when no one could have predicted them doing so a year ago. Cardelli committed to AIC for this season around Christmas break last year, and was a hockey nomad in Bemidji. He had to work and heal himself from a shoulder injury and not have a team to be with full time until the summer. Fiske was thought to be the third goalie this year and yet got the chance from Lang in part for his loyalty. It’s not about loyalty for the goalie any more. Fiske on his game is a cerebral goalie that makes the big saves look easy and allows the offense to push the pace, being the backup in the net. Both men worked to get better every day last year with no promise of tonight or any time this season. Tonight it paid dividends in spades.
What comes next
AIC has been here before this season. They put up eight goals against Army before proceeding to drop four conference games in a row after that. Right now in Atlantic Hockey standings, their dearth of points in that stretch is why they still have work to do and help needed to get back to the top of the table. They take on Bentley on the road tomorow and those small details, and their patience to keep pushing will be the two biggest things we will be watching. The win was great, what comes next matters more for this group than the one game.
Hear some thoughts from Assistant Head Coach Brendan Riley as well:
What the message was to the team to prepare:
“We had another short week as far as preparation goes, but we challenged our guys to play a full 60mins with great effort and intensity. They answered the bell tonight.”
On the play of rookie John Lundy with Blake Bennett.
“Lundy is a very complimentary player. He works incredibly hard and is quite reliable and dependable. His hard skill and ability shows more and more with every game he plays.”
On two more standouts for AIC:
“I thought Brett Callahan and Evan Stella were excellent on the back end for us. They both are so reliable and defensively sound. It’s easy for them to go unnoticed but they consistently do their job to perfection.”
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