The University of Rhode Island’s roller hockey team rolled over their opponents in the 2014-15 season en route to an appearance at Nationals in Independence, Missouri, this weekend.
Rhode Island (8-10) went from being a cellar dweller last season to taking eighth place in their division behind Slippery Rock (8-9). The roller hockey team is now headed to Nationals where they will finish off their year.
The group will play against the likes of Arizona State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Grand Valley State starting on April 8. Last year, the team lost to Grand Valley State and is looking for revenge against them in the upcoming national game.
Brandon Ryan, captain of the roller hockey team, said that the team “doesn’t have a weakness, it has been the best year so far [and] previously the team could barely win games but now we are winning.”
The roller hockey teams season topped many other years of Rhode Island roller hockey. Coach Corey Allard thought the team “started off slow but picked up after second semester of the school year began,” and believes that “the team is always looking to improve and discover new ways to do their best during both games and practice.”
URI came in second behind Neumann University (18-0), the best team in the country, during the regional playoffs, losing 7-3 on March 8. When it came to playoffs, the team took home the win for four out of the six games they played. “The wins came from everyone on the team contributing and everyone playing with a lot of heart, ” Ryan said.
Some of the Rhode Island roller hockey players to watch out for in Independence this weekend include sophomore forward Will Lalor, who had two game-winning goals and senior goaltender Christopher Norton, who collected three of URI’s four playoff wins. Senior forward Joseph Pascucci. along with sophomore defensemen Stephen Falkowski, both assisted with the teams wins and improved season, as well. Post roller hockey nationals, Lalor and Falkowski will go on to play in the All-Star Game.
“We should be amongst the top teams during nationals,” Coach Allard said. If we make it into the Sweet 16, that will be a victory for the roller hockey team.”
The goal for next season is to continue the squad’s growing success, recruiting a goaltender to replace Norton and bringing home the first-place gold. Ryan also mentioned the team is “looking for the same heart” to bring to the floor when next season rolls around.