By Charlie Lynch
This past weekend saw both the men’s and women’s club hockey teams take to the ice at home. The men’s team played against Fort Lewis while the women’s team played against a local team, the Denver Diamonds. A different feel from organized Division I hockey, the club team brings out players who just have a love for the game and want to continue that passion without the grind of a varsity team. That does not mean the quality and skill diminishes, however, with both teams putting out great players and great chemistry this past weekend resulting in some amazing games.
Men’s club hockey had two successful games this past weekend, winning both of their matchups against Fort Lewis. These were important games because the Tigers club team had lost their other games against Fort Lewis on the road previously this season.
Breck Keller ’22 described the previous road games. “We were in a similar situation last time we played them,” Keller said. “We didn’t have that many guys on the road trip and we ended up getting killed by them so it felt good to get [these] two home wins.” With these wins, men’s club hockey was able split its series against Fort Lewis, wrapping up with an overall tie. Of the two games, the Friday night game was the best, with the Tigers winning 6-5.
“We kinda started off slow in the first … a lot of us were looking tired and didn’t have our feet moving, but it went really well in the second,” Keller said. “We were way more fired up [in the second and] started making some better plays. We started moving the puck well in the other team’s offensive zone which felt great. Mitch, Will, and Walt really ran it; they scored three between them and then my line had a huge contribution in the early third. It was a really good team effort all around, multiple lines got past their defense.”
Keller also spoke to some of the unfortunate realities of the more laid-back nature of club hockey. “Unfortunately, Fort Lewis did not have enough players, so we gave some of ours. Even though we gave some of our players the games were still really well played and it was an even game,” said Keller.
Despite this, the team seems to be moving forward eagerly in the wake of the successful weekend. “The team is starting to come together with guys showing up this week; on Monday we had 20 guys show up at 10:30 p.m. for practice, which really showed in our ability to win this weekend” said Keller.
The women’s club hockey team had a nail-biter on Sunday against the Denver Diamonds, one of the many non-collegiate teams the Tigers play. In fact, women’s club hockey only plays two other collegiate teams, the rest being local women’s teams. This weekend, the team played with only seven girls, meaning only two substitutes.
Despite a lack of players CC held its own until the third period, when the Tigers’ overwhelming offense broke down into an odd man rush for the Denver Diamonds, who eventually won 2-1.
“We had played this team before, and last time we got smacked by them because we had only one substitute, which was really hard,” Bryn Aprill ’23 said. “This time we had two subs, which is really good, especially at home. It’s really hard when you’re running on seven skaters.”
Aprill saw other improvements in her team’s performance as well. “I think we definitely did better this time in terms of the shots and opportunities and we started to play really well in the third,” Aprill said. “We are tied going into the third and we were hoping to pull out a win. We came out strong and were communicating well, getting rebounds but nothing was going in; we even had a couple breakaways which fired us up.”
In the end, however, the girls did drop the game to the experienced Denver Diamonds.
“It was a kind of tough loss because the goal to win it was lucky after us playing really well in the third,” said Aprill.