Rowan Men’s Ice Hockey picks up two key victories over the weekend

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The DII team celebrates. The DII squad racked up two wins over the weekend. Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. - Staff Photographer / Tyrese Williams

Rowan Men’s Ice Hockey kicked off another long weekend of hockey with the Division II team playing a pair of games for the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) with Rider University on Friday, Oct. 28. Following their road trip, the Profs hosted Virginia Tech on Saturday, Oct. 29.

From top to bottom, the Profs are starting to fire on all cylinders as they did last season. The difference from last season is that a majority of the returning veterans know the pain of losing and not finishing the season the way they would have liked to. For a lot of guys, this is their last chance to make a run for a trophy.

DII Team: Rider Matchup 

The Profs headed to Lawrenceville, NJ for a matchup at Louck’s Ice Arena. This has been a tough tilt for the Profs since they haven’t been able to beat Rider since before the pandemic started. 

The Profs have been rolling as of late in ACHA play and continue to win, but they will only play as well as what they put into practice. 

“We’ve been harder on the guys,” Head Coach Dan DiMonte said. “During skating and conditioning drills and in between, we are trying to drill home the point that we need to move.”

JT Zangara understands that his coach wants to push this team to be the best that they can be. As a veteran player, his role is to not only be a vocal leader but one that leads by example. 

“We learned we have to have more energy on the bench and have to come together more,” Zangara said. “It’s not a one person game have to play as a team. The next couple practices we learned that and started to communicate with our linemates better.”

The team was able to to put what they practiced into game situations in their 3-1 victory over Rider.

“That was a huge boost for the team,” Coach DiMonte said. “We haven’t beaten them since pre-pandemic and we absolutely dominated the game. If it wasn’t for the refs trying to even the game out, the score would have been more than just 3-1.”

The Profs held the lead for the entire game and never let up. Winning these ACHA matchups can help this team continue to build confidence, chemistry and character.

DII Team: Virginia Tech Matchup

This team continued to score goals and fight as they defeated Virginia Tech in overtime 5-4. This was a little preview to their matchup coming up at the Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League (ACCHL) Showcase, where they will face Virginia Tech again. 

Jimmy Pollock had a similar message as Zangara regarding the effort it takes to continue to succeed.

“We gotta come ready to practice,” Pollock said. “No fooling around. I think that’s the motive and I think that’s how we’re gonna get the job done this weekend.”

The proof is in the pudding as they say, and the way the Profs have been playing continues to show that practice is paying off.

Coach DiMonte knows there is still plenty of work to do, but is happy with the way his guys have been performing as of late. 

“When we play 5v5 and stay out of the box, we have been the better team in every game this season,” Coach DiMonte said. “But once penalties start to add up, we can’t continue to keep putting ourselves down a man. We need to tighten up.”

This team just continues to impress Coach DiMonte.

“Man was it a good win,” Coach DiMonte said. “Fought back in the third and sent it to OT. Have a ton of confidence in Mike when the ice opens up for OT. (3 on 3) He got a great pass up ice from JT Zangara and put the puck short side. Great celly too.”

This is a big weekend for the DII team, as they will be headed up to the ACCHL Showcase this weekend. The Profs will be heading to Virginia for three games starting Friday, Nov. 5 and ending Sunday, Nov. 7.

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