Sports

Cool as ice

Written by Alex Mark

Men’s club ice hockey excels this season

The 2016-17 season is almost over for the Saint Joseph’s University Men’s Club Ice Hockey Team, led by senior captains Edward Markowski and Tyler Garcia both expressed strong satisfaction with how the season has turned out for the Hawks.

Overall, the Hawks won 12 games, 10 of which were played at home, and lost 11, with four at home. Additionally, they ended two home games in a tie.

According to Markowski, the 2016-17 season was his best “by a margin.” The team has not had a winning season for the past three years, but this season, the Hawks had managed to make the playoffs for the first time in six years.

The captains named the game against University of Maryland in Baltimore County (UMBC) on Oct. 30 as the roughest moment of the season, where the Hawks lost 15-2.

“[UMBC is] much better than we are,” Markowski said.

In contrast, major highlights of the season include the Hawks’ Jan. 21 game against Seton Hall University and the win against the U.S. Naval Academy on Jan. 28.

While the first period of the game against Seton Hall University ended with St. Joe’s  down 3-0, the Hawks returned to the ice to win the game 5-4, scoring two goals in the second period and three goals in the third.

Markowski stated that the win was a “really good confidence booster” for the team, who then went on to beat the U.S. Naval Academy and advance to playoffs.

The game against the U.S. Naval Academy resulted in a 4-1 Hawks victory in which they scored three goals in the first period and one goal in the second. Senior goalie Chris D’Alessio also tallied his first shut-out during this game.

“It was a nice change of pace,” D’Alessio said.

As for the other players, the captains named the top scoring forwards of the season as Markowski, who scored 10 power play goals and four game-winning goals with 55 in total, sophomore John Tarantino, who scored four power play goals and two game-winning goals with 37 total points, and junior Ryley Harper, who scored 10 power play goals and three game-winning goals with 42 total points.

“It was fun to go play those games,” said senior captain Tyler Garcia. “Everyone bonded.”

The season’s top defensive players were Garcia, who scored two power play goals with 22 points total, and sophomore Andrew Sarre, who scored one power play goal with 14 points total.

D’Alessio, the captains said, is another notable player, having made 504 saves over the course of the season with an 85.1 save percentage.

Team chemistry was especially dynamic this season—since many players were underclassmen, Garcia mentioned. The seniors of the team had to take on the role of mentor, which led to a tight bond and strong friendships both on and off the ice.

“Me, Tyler [Garcia] and Eddie [Markowski] tried to get the freshmen involved early,” D’Alessio said. “We tried to make sure there weren’t any cliques or anything like that.”

The captains also felt that because their relationship with Head Coach Hugh Walsh strengthened this season, they were able to work well together and lead the team more effectively than in previous years.

“I hope the program continues to get better each year,” Markowski said.

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Alex Mark

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