Men’s hockey prepares for upcoming season

Chris Yamnitsky

The Kent State men’s Hockey Club begins to prepare for next week’s season opener against Eastern Michigan on Friday night. Head coach Jim Underwood has a positive outlook on the team’s schedule this season, as it differs much from last year’s.

“We are pretty excited with our non-conference schedule,” Underwood said. “It gives us an opportunity to balance a competitive schedule with some decent games as well.”

The changing of their schedule allows the team to play a more broad group of teams, instead of playing a majority of conference games throughout the year.

“I think we have a much favorable schedule for us,” Underwood said. “Instead of playing 24 conference games we are now playing 16. This means it opens up a lot of non-conference games for us.”

For the players, the beginning of the season brings with it a new perspective on what the team looks like and how they will do in the start of the season.

Freshman Mike Sullivan can’t wait to see what kind of team chemistry will be built within the team.  

“I’m excited to see all the guys gel together,” Sullivan said. “And, see what kind of identity we have.”

Teammate Andrew Radosevic looks forward to his last year at Kent State.  

“Well it’s my last year and I’m just really looking forward to it with this group of guys,” Radosevic said. “I think we really have a shot to do big things this year.”

Looking ahead, the team begins to work on a variety of things for their game next Friday night. From past years, Underwood has noticed the importance of special teams in the beginning of the season. This week has brought much practice on special teams.  

“We have been focusing on our power play opportunities and shutting down on the penalty kill,” Underwood said. “The first few games of the year we are anticipating high penalty affairs until the guys get back into the swing of things.”

Sullivan sees the first practices as an opportunity to have a good overall workout on everything, but puts a little emphasis on the special teams.

“It’s been the first weeks of practice so (we work on) everything really,” Sullivan said. “Power play a lot, but nothing too crazy.”

Rodosevic has good feelings about the different things that have been gone over throughout the past few weeks of practice.  

“This week we have really worked into systems a lot,” Radosevic said. “We’ve looked really god and I’m really confident we will bring it in the game really well.”

The Golden Flashes will head out to Eastern Michigan to face-off with the Eagles at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3  at Taylor Sportsplex. The team returns home for their home-opener against Western Michigan Broncos at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Kent State University Arena. The Flashes will take on the Broncos again at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at home.

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