A warm, bright, sun shiny day in Rochester and the air filled with excitement as the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Men and Women’s Ice Hockey Teams prepare for the start of the 2017-18 season.Lou Spiotti, executive director of intercollegiate athletics greeted the media and introduced two of the top coaches in college hockey, Wayne Wilson and Scott McDonald to give their season previews.
“It’s a new beginning for the team,” said Women’s Head Coach Scott McDonald. “There is a new sense of confidence with the team and a sense of self-worth that is also having them enjoy the game.
The RIT women have four new captains in Junior Kendall Cornine and Senior Lauren Carrol with the C and Christa Vuglar and Mallory Rushton, both juniors, wearing the A.
“It exciting to see where they will take the new ones,” said McDonald. “They have set the tone and have the “in” factor. I’ve seen freshmen transition well, but not as quickly as the eight this year.
“I think for the past couple years they were a little content with ‘we’ve done it twice so what can we do now’ attitude,” said McDonald. “But you want to do it every year and with the older team and experience and the new girls excited to play, we want to get back to our winning ways.”
The Captains agree.
“We know the hard work and dedication it takes to win and we bring that to the team,” said Cornine.
“We have to work on consistency,” said Carroll. “We need to play a full 60 minutes.
Both Captains and Coach agree that the fans will see a fast and determined team with lots of scoring.
Coach explained that the newcomers all have a track record of scoring and of the eight, seen served in leadership roles as captain of their team.
“We also want fans to know we appreciate them,” said Carroll. “They have been so supportive both at home and away.”
In fact, at times they have more fans than the home team when they are on the road.
On the men’s side, Coach Wilson also sees an excitement building and that after coming off a disappointing season last year, they are much more determined and looking for a championship run.
“The league is getting better every year,” said Wilson. “A lot of teams are capable of winning the regular season and the playoffs.
“I like what we have coming into the year,” he continued. “We were picked fourth in our league and that’s fine; but when you look down at the bottom you can see those teams are expected a good year also.”
Wilson sees a strong defense and offensive and the thing not proven is the goaltending. This year’s goaltender saw only three games last season and the other two are freshmen.
“They have proven themselves but it’s also an important position and plays a big role in where we end up.”
“This year with a little more incentive and determination, that should help us challenge Air Force for their first place and other teams picked ahead of us,” he concluded. “We need to be ready for every game.”