Coming off the heels of what was arguably their most impressive weekend of the season, a series split with No. 9 Liberty University, the University of Rhode Island Men’s ice hockey team looked poised to head into the home stretch of divisional play riding a tidal wave of confidence.
Instead, they split another series, except this time instead of claiming three out of a possible four points against the division leader, they managed only two points against the last place team in the division, New York University.
To their credit, the Rams started the weekend on the right foot, defeating the Violets in the first game of the weekend. The Rams quickly jumped out to a dominant 3-0 lead, however, things took a turn for the worse during the second period.
The Rams were assessed a major penalty to Danny Ryan, which led to a five minute power play for the Violets. The Violets would go on to score two goals in rapid succession. Coach Joe Augustine was far from thrilled with yet another major penalty called on the Rams.
“You got a 3-0 lead, you’re basically controlling the game and then all of a sudden you get that,” said Augustine. “They get two goals and then all of a sudden you’re in a dogfight. Those are discipline things that good teams don’t do, and it’s not the first time it’s happened to us this year.”
With the Rams in desperate need of a big play, alternate captain Matthew Kowash quickly scored a short handed goal to stave off any momentum from the Violets. Augustine called the goal “huge”, giving the Rams the momentum they would need to kill of the remainder of the penalty. Kowash’s goal proved to be the game winner, with the Rams taking the 5-3 contest.
On Saturday, the script flipped. The Violets controlled the puck and the pace of play, never letting the Rams offense find their footing. They were shutout for the first time in over two months, dropping the matchup 3-0.
Augustine once again expressed his frustration with the inconsistency of the on-ice talent.
“It’s basically a reflection of the whole year,” said Augustine. “ I don’t know if they think they’re just going to show up and win. I think that’s probably part of it. You can skate them, you can do all kinds of things but at the end of the day if that’s not in your DNA I don’t know what you can do about that.”
One of the positives of the weekend was the goaltending play, even in the losing effort in the second game.
“That 3-0 game could’ve been a lot worse if Danny DeSilva didn’t play so well,” said Augustine. “And if Ketzenberger didn’t play so well on Friday we would’ve lost that game. They out chanced us by a wide margin, both games, our goaltenders and just a handful of guys come every night and play. You’re not winning like that.”
With only three more weekends left in the regular season, Augustine said that the rest of the team needs to step up. “This is a team game, you can’t just have five guys bringing their ‘A’ game every night and everyone else trying to ride their coattails.”
The Rams will be in Annapolis this weekend for the Crab Pot Tournament before returning to Kingston for their final home series of the season against Stony Brook.