The University of Rhode Island men’s hockey team broke their six game losing streak and got head coach Joe Augustine’s his 600th win as the URI head coach with a series sweep against Niagara University last weekend.
“Getting 600 it’s nice it just means I’ve been around a long time, too,” Augustine said about the milestone. “It’s just a testament to everybody within our program, our doctors, our trainers, assistant coaches and all the players that have come through. They do all the work I mean I haven’t put a puck in the net or stopped a puck for URI so they do the work and it’s a nice win for the program but I’m glad its out of the way so we can move forward and not dwell on it.”
The action kicked off late Friday night as sophomore Alexander Lund scored his first goal of the season to take an early 1-0 lead. With 2:23 left in the first period sophomore Jake Salisbury scored on a pass from senior Mike Pesola to take a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.
Halfway through the second period Salisbury got his second goal of the game on the powerplay to put the Rams up 3-0. In the third period Niagara was able to get one past sophomore goalie J.T. Ketzenberger to make the score 3-1.
URI soon answered on a 2-1 breakaway goal scored by freshman Patrick Creamer with the assist from junior Luke Vendetto to extend URI’s lead 4-1. Niagara would score again but would be unable to do much more as URI broke their six-game losing streak with a score of 4-2. The win also gave Augustine his 600th win as head coach of the Rams.
On Saturday URI certainly did not dwell on the win from the night before as they looked to get the sweep. The game was slow to get going with no score at the end of the first. The score would not stay that way for long as junior Evan Rankin scored on a rebound to put the Rams on the board 1-0 with 15:30 left in the second.
A little over halfway through the second, Niagara would score to tie the game at one apiece but with under two minutes left in the half Salisbury would get his third goal of the weekend to give the Rams the lead 2-1 heading into the third period.
One minute into the third period Rankin would score his second of the game to extend the lead to 3-1. With 8:15 left in the game junior Nunzio Morretti scored to put URI up 4-1. Niagara would get one more goal late in the third period to make the final score 4-2.
After breaking their six game losing streak and sweeping Niagara Augustine said that he was impressed with the way his team performed. “The execution was better,” Augustine said. “We seemed to play two pretty solid games. There were mistakes made when they scored but overall it wasn’t bad so now we have to build on that.”
With seven players out with injuries, one of them being a major offensive producer in Jonathan Alsfeld, the team is relying on other players to step up and produce offensively.
“You got your opportunity to play and some guys are producing and you have to take advantage of that,” Augustine said. “When these people start coming back that are hurt then hopefully it makes the decisions a lot harder to see who’s going to be in there. People have to step up. Injuries are just part of the game.”
URI plays away this weekend against Drexel University. A matchup that will certainly be a tough one for this URI team.
“Drexel is a very good team, they split with Colorado State last weekend,” Augustine said. “You gotta be ready to play. You cannot take any weekends off mentally or physically because you’re going to get beat. We are just trying to keep our focus and build on these two wins and move along.”
After Drexel the Rams then return home after a five-game road trip to play New York University Nov. 10 and 11.