By JENN WHITTAKER
If you’ve never seen a Spartans club hockey game, this is the season you don’t want to miss. A high scoring offense, solid defense, persistent goalkeeping and enthusiastic coaching have all helped set the tone for this year. In addition, the Spartans play a hard-hitting physical checking style. Christian Hamlett, the junior starting goaltender from Oakdale, NY has been standing on his head all season long. “Every game we play is exciting. Almost every team in the country understands how strong of a team we have this year and they are always ready to play,” Hamlett said. He has been the starting goaltender for the Spartans since his freshman year.
For the beginning of November, the Spartans will be taking their conglomeration of talent on the road. “We would like to have a good showing in front of rowdy away fans going into our road trip to Georgia and South Carolina,” said senior forward Corey Tudor.
On Nov. 13 the Spartans will face off against Life University in Atlanta, Georgia. Life University has a current record of 3-1. There is a definite advantage in favor of the Spartans since they have played far more games this season, but the team isn’t taking anything for granted. “Last year was the first year we played Life University in our school’s history and even though we finished our season series 2-1 against them, we would like to do even better this year and end with a season sweep,” Tudor said. “We are confident in our abilities and hope to start our first out of state road trip with a big win at their barn.” “I expect to come out and win every match-up we have against Life this year,” Hamlett said.
For games leading up to the one against Life University, the players are full of confidence. “As the starting goalie, I plan to win every single game,” Hamlett said.
Garrett Torrico is a freshman center forward from Mount Washington, Massachusetts. “We’re looking forward to using these upcoming games as tests for the important games to come in the future. I expect to do my best to perform to the highest of my ability,” Torrico said. The Spartans currently have a record of 18-4 having beaten Embry-Riddle University in both contests on the road last weekend in Daytona.
There is nothing but positivity coming from the players at this point in the season.
“We have some good games coming up in November, but after that we don’t play again until the spring semester,” Tudor said. “In the spring we have some really good games and that’s when everything is in full gear. All the teams are battling to make it to regionals and nationals.”
“Our team is incredible this year. We have improved tremendously compared to last year’s team. At this time, we are about the hottest team in the country,” Hamlett said.
However, head coach Stephen Kucera, wants to keep things in perspective.
“One game won’t determine our fate for the rest of the season,” said Kucera. “What will matter more is that we finish the fall season with intensity and strength on the ice. We will need to maintain a high level of commitment to conditioning and fitness over the winter break and return for the spring semester ready for the close of our season, our conference championships and, if we sustain the level of play we have mustered this season – regionals. Regionals are our playoffs that generate two berths to Nationals.”
There is no doubt that this season the team has high expectations for themselves with their collective eye on the ultimate prize – a chance to compete at the National Championship. The Spartans will return for their next home game to square off against Florida State University on Nov. 20.