Sophomore forward Brennan Henry surveys the ice looking for his teammate against Stony Brook. Photo by Anna Meassick.

The University of Rhode Island’s men’s ice hockey team’s season ended this past weekend with a loss in the quarterfinals of the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League playoffs.

URI’s 2018-2019 campaign began on the last weekend of September 2018 with two games against Towson University. It was a good start to the season as the Rams won on both games with scores of 11-0 and 7-0. However, their short two-game winning streak to open the season came to a halt just one week later when they faced Syracuse University. The Rams dropped both games this weekend and saw their record quickly fall to 2-2.

After the back-to-back losses to Syracuse, the Rams grabbed their third victory of the season with a 6-1 win over New York University. The Rams still struggled to gain any momentum. They dropped the second game on Saturday against New York University and went on to lose two out of their next three games. Their lone win in that span was a 7-0 shutout against Drexel University.

Things then began to turn around for the Rams. Over their next nine games they compiled a record of 7-2. During this span they put together two three-game winning streaks and scored at least five goals in six out of their seven victories. The Rams improved their record over this stretch from 5-5 to 11-7. The Rams then proceeded to drop their last two games before winter break to enter the second half of the season with a record of 11-9.

The Rams came out of the gates hot to start the second half of their season. Through the first 10 games of the second half the Rams put together a 7-3 record. This included a four-game winning streak, their longest of the season. Also, during this 10 game run they managed to put together their third three-game winning streak of the season. In the middle of all of this a milestone was reached. The Jan. 20 game against the Buffalo University was game 1,000 for Head Coach Joe Augustine as head coach of the Rams. This milestone came in season number 30 for him as head coach here at URI. The Rams ended up dropping this game 3-2.

The success the Rams had during this 10-game stretch helped boost their record to 18-10-1. They cooled off quickly after this as they struggled through the last four weeks of their regular season. They went 3-5 in their last eight games and finished the season on a four game losing streak where three of those losses where by just one goal.

With the regular season now behind them the Rams were ready to make a run in the ESCHL playoffs. However, their playoff run was short-lived. The Rams lost 6-1 in the quarterfinals to Delaware.

After the season ended so abruptly, Augustine was not happy about the way his team performed during the playoffs.

“We didn’t show up,” said Augustine “Every game in the tournament was a one goal game, except ours.”

Augustine wasn’t just disappointed with the way his team played during the playoffs but also with their performance throughout the regular season.

“Inconsistent is the only way I can describe the way we played this year,” said Augustine. “Played good one game and just didn’t show up the next one.”

However, Augustine did offer some praise to individual members of the team for the way they performed on and off the ice during the season.

“Guys like Filip Akermark and Eddie Cordero worked hard all season and led by example,” Augustine said. “They played well on the ice but worked even harder in the weight room.”

Akermark and Cordero are both senior defensemen.

Augustine also praised junior JT Ketzenberger and sophomore Danny DeSilva for their play as goalies this season.

“We rotated goalies after every game and our goaltending was very, very good all year long,” Augustine said. “Both of our goaltenders played great, no complaints.”

Junior forward and Rhode Island native Jake Salisbury led the team in points with 48 off of 17 goals and 31 assists. Fellow Rhode Islander junior forward Jonathan Alsfeld led the team with 20 goals.

Augustine also spoke very highly of senior Matt Kowash who played in 33 games this year and scored 12 goals while tallying 21 assists for a total of 33 points. Kowash returned to the ice this season after he broke his femur during last years regular season. Augustine said he didn’t think Kowash would come back this year and was surprised when he did and he commends him for coming back.

Augustine said he hopes the way the season ended was motivation for his players to work hard in the offseason and come back stronger and better next year. He doesn’t want to see the same inconsistencies next year and hopes everyone has the same expectations in mind.

“My expectations are the same every year and that is to compete for and win a national championship.”