BY COLIN CANNATA
Sacred Heart University men’s and women’s ice hockey teams have both began their respective seasons.
The women’s team opened their season with two wins against Post University from Oct. 5-6, in Shelton, Conn. The men’s team opened their season a week later with two losses to 15th-ranked Northeastern from Oct. 12-13, at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Heading into this season, the men’s hockey team was ranked 10th in the Atlantic Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll.
“The Atlantic Hockey Preseason ranking in the big picture means absolutely nothing,” said head coach C.J. Marottolo. “Our group has been going about their business and they feel that they have a lot to prove and have been focused and driven in preparing for the upcoming season.”
Senior co-captain Liam Clare believes that the team has come together. He has also been impressed with some of the new players on the team this season.
“We’re a fast team that can play four lines without fear,” said Clare. “We have depth this year, depth that in the past I don’t think we’ve had. I firmly believe we have a bunch of guys that are poised for breakout years.”
In addition to facing Northeastern, the men’s team will also face 4th-ranked Providence College on Oct. 20. From Jan. 19-20, they will take on Air Force, who received two Top-15 votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll.
“We want to show that we can play with the best teams in the country,” said senior co-captain Mike Crocock.
Marottolo is looking for Clare and Crocock to set the best examples for the rest of the team on how to play the game.
“Both Mike and Liam have played a lot of hockey for us the past three years and they know what it will take for us to reach our goals,” said Marottolo. “Without question, they will lay it on the line for their teammates.”
The women’s hockey team won 6-0 and 7-1 respectively, in their games against Post.
The team was picked to finish first in the New England Women’s Hockey Alliance (NEWHA) Preseason Coaches Poll. They are the inaugural and defending NEWHA Champions.
“It’s nice to have that recognition, but that’s not something we have addressed as a front and center issue,” said head coach Thomas O’Malley. “Whether we’re the top ranked team or another ranked team, we’re just going to go out and play our game.”
O’Malley is excited about the way the team has come together both offensively and defensively.
“We have another solid group of people on our team,” said O’Malley. “We’ve been working very hard both on and off the ice.”
After their victories over Post, the team traveled to take on the University of Maine for two games from Oct. 12-13. Maine is ranked 13th in the nation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Sacred Heart ended up being shut out in both contests.
As the men’s team prepares for Providence, the women’s team will return home to Shelton, Conn., to take on Saint Anselm for two games from Oct. 19-20.