With last week’s loss to CMU behind them, the CWRU Ice Hockey Club was ready to come out with a win against the Community College of Allegheny County last Friday, Oct 8. For the first two periods, victory was in sight for the Spartans. However, as the third period progressed, things started to fall apart for CWRU. The Spartans fell victim to rampant penalties and CCAC was able to take advantage on the power play. CWRU left the ice after the final whistle carrying an 11-4 loss. However, the scoreline doesn’t show the amount of effort and improvement since last week’s loss to Carnegie Mellon University.
CWRU goalie John Richards made some good saves early in the first period. Just six minutes into the game the score was 1-1 and expectations were high. CCAC brought a physical game to the ice. Forward Rick Wattras was one of the first victims, getting checked over the front of the CCAC penalty box, his body bending harshly at the waist. When asked about the hit, Wattras said “I barely felt it. I used my advanced movements to avoid serious injury.” The Spartans matched their opponent’s physical play and the CWRU fans cheered loudly every time a CCAC player hit the ice. The first period closed with CCAC holding a lead of 3-2 over CWRU.
During the second period, the Spartans handled the puck well, leading to several long offensive possessions, but weren’t always able to find the back of the net. The Spartans weren’t afraid to shoot, but the rebounding just wasn’t there to snap the puck into the CCAC net.
The CWRU defense performed much better than they had in their previous game. Many players were readily blocking shots and passes with their skates and bodies, willing to drop down onto the ice to prevent CCAC from scoring. The increased defensive effort allowed CWRU to match CCAC 2-2 during the second period, which brought the Spartans into the final period with just a one goal deficit.
The game’s physicality reached its high-point in the third period. There were multiple instances of players falling over one another in front of the net, which led to pushing and shoving which did nothing but result in penalties. These penalties riled up players on both the CCAC squad and the CWRU team. Unfortunately, the hits also shook up some of the Spartans and derailed the flow of the game for CWRU.
There was a multiple-player dog pile in the CCAC net during which the puck seemingly crossed the goal line, but the referees called it a no-goal. The call incited an angry crowd and frustrated the Spartans. The game ended with a score of 11-4, with CWRU failing to score a goal in the last period.
The Spartans don’t entirely blame the referees for their loss, many players—including some on the CCAC squad—felt the game should have been better managed by the officials, as it often got out of hand. Forward Mike Malone said, “we let our heads get the best of us” in regards to the team’s third period deterioration.
Overall, the game showed great improvement from the Spartans — both offensively and defensively — and they will only continue to get better for their next home game, Oct. 23 against California University.