No. 19 hockey faces Buffalo, Canisus

Kent State’s hockey team gathers for a group break down at the end of practice Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015.

Chris Yamnitsky

The Kent State Hockey Club started their season off in the right direction with a 5-0-1 record and plans to continue their play by following the team philosophy.  

“We can’t just rely on one line or one or two players to create all of our offense. We need four lines every single game contributing,” said head coach Jim Underwood. “As our opponents get stronger and better throughout the season, in terms of league games, we are going to rely on all players on the ice to get the job done.”

It takes the whole team for the Flashes to hold true to this philosophy even in practice.

“It’s not a single man game, but you need your line mates to put up points too, and that’s what we’ve been doing the past few games,” John Buttitta, sophomore forward, said. “We just have to keep it rolling, keep the shots coming and keep working hard and I think we will keep producing.”

For sophomore forward and team-leading scorer Jake Haneline, the weekdays is where the play really matters.

“It really starts in practice,” Haneline said. “You practice how you play. We just have to bring that on the road.”

Underwood could not emphasize how important practice is when preparing for a game. 

“One thing we continue to work on is all the little details involved in practice. In practice we did a lot on tight spaces where there are lot of battles,” Underwood said.  “And all those little skills that are involved in that will translate to the game.”

The Flashes have two opposite expectations for this weekend as they take on two different opponents. 

“This is the first time we are playing Canisius in a long time,” Underwood said. “We don’t really know much about them. We are going to focus on continuing to play a full 60 minutes. We need to have four lines of forwards and three lines of defense playing all game long, and we’ll see when the dust settles where we stand.”

He said a team that is comparable to the Flashes is Buffalo, who Kent played twice last year.  

“They are going to have some size, speed and skill,” he said. “They are going to be one of the better opponents we’ve played this year, so it is going to be a very close game. I think the team who has the more power play opportunities will have a better chance to win.”

The Flashes face Canisius College on Friday at 9 p.m., and the University of Buffalo on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

“We’re building for one common goal at the end of the season and that’s for league playoffs and a national championship. We know that it’s still very early in the season, and there are still some things we need to work on that we can control ourselves,” Underwood said. “And if we continue to do so, it puts us in a good position to win hockey games all season long.”

Chris Yamnitsky is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at c[email protected].