Rowan DII ice hockey splits weekend games, faces Rider for second time in less than a week

Rowan forward Trevor Rucci celebrates with teammates in a game against Montclair State University earlier this year. Photo Editor/Nicole Mingo

The Rowan D-II ice hockey team split a busy weekend, dropping a rivalry game to Rider on Saturday and then blowing out Navy on the road on Sunday.

On Saturday night, the Profs hosted the Rider University Broncs at Hollydell Ice Arena. The game came 364 days since Mike McGahey scored the game winning goal over Rider in a shootout in what was his final home game.

Those fortunes did not come easily on this night.

Rowan struck first with a goal by Nick Ramos with the assist by Trevor Rucci, but that was the only time the brown and gold found the back of the net. The Broncs scored two goals in the second and a goal in the third to win the game 3-1.

“We came out flying in the first period,” said goaltender Justin Natiello. “I don’t know if we thought it would be a cakewalk, but they came out flying in the second and we kind of just took a step back.”

As is the usual with rivalry games in this sport, with intense competition comes intense physicality and there was no lack of that on the ice.

Things got especially dicey in the third as Frank Christy went to the ground on top of a Rider player after the whistle, with some punches being thrown. Christy was assessed a major penalty and disqualified from the game.

“Discipline would’ve been key,” said captain Peter Kaz. “They were talking, we were talking. We just need to grow up a little bit and keep our heads on us.”

The club has been trying to find its consistency over the last few weeks. They have been lucky to remain ranked fifth in the region, despite some tough losses.

“We self-destructed,” said head coach John Caulfield. “We just need to stay focused on systems. We tend to forget everything we work on and we end up with five solo artists, and five solo artists don’t make a band.”

Rowan had a quick turnaround as they got on a bus Sunday morning to Annapolis, Maryland to face Navy.

The lack of offense against Rider fired up the sticks against Navy, as the Profs outshot their opponent by an outstanding margin of 87-15.

Yes, eighty. Seven. Shots.

Navy goalie Mitch Stangel stopped 80 of those shots, but the seven he allowed were the difference. On the other end, Justin Natiello had a clean sheet as he stopped all 15 shots he faced.

All seven of the brown and gold’s goals were scored by different players. Connor MacEwen, Sam Meyer, Sam Ahern, Aaron Segnello, Christopher McDermott, Lewis Claps, and Frank Steffe all found the back of the net in the shutout.

The important thing for Rowan, is they ended the weekend on an offensive high note. Now all they have to do is bring the same offense they showed against Navy into Friday night’s road game when they take on Rider University for the second time in six days.

Round two is going to be a true fight.

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