Kent State hockey faces tough opponents on road this weekend

Jeremy Juhasz

The Kent State hockey team will hit the road for a pair of games against two different opponents this weekend.

The Flashes (7-4) will play at Adrian College in Michigan tonight. The team will then travel back to Kent only to shuttle to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne tomorrow.

“I still think everyone is pretty excited after winning (against Iowa State),” said senior forward Dave Bruder, who netted the game-winning penalty shot against the Cyclones last Saturday, “and trying to keep our spirits up on the bus for 10 hours or however long, I think everyone will be able to handle it.”

Last weekend, the Flashes defeated Iowa State twice at the Kent State Ice Arena.

Kent State has already faced Adrian this season, losing 3-1 on Oct. 4. Even strength wasn’t the problem for the Flashes, but the special teams units were. The club allowed two shorthanded goals and a power-play marker.

Both clubs had difficulty staying out of the penalty box during the game, combining for 54 penalty minutes. Kent State had 26 of those minutes.

“They’re (Adrian College) a big, fast team,” senior defenseman Kye Budziszewski said. “They just like to hit. They’re not very fancy.”

To shut down the Bulldogs, who are 5-1 at home and 9-3 overall, Kent State will have to monitor a dynamic trio. Tom Ciaverilla, Jared Semple and Spencer Bonomo have totaled 25 goals – more than a third of Adrian College’s offensive output.

Kent State coach Jarret Whidden said he will be starting senior goalie Ryan Gregory tonight.

Gregory was tremendous against Iowa State, allowing four goals in two games between the pipes.

But Whidden also said its imperative to get goalies sophomore Anthony Natali and freshman Rick Zucker some playing time as well.

Whidden said he would wait until after Friday’s game before naming Saturday’s starter. Saturday’s opponent, Duquesne, is more of an unknown match up for Kent State.

“Saturday at Duquesne, (I’m) not really sure what to expect,” Budziszewski said. “They’re a young team from what I hear.”

After dropping its first six games, Duquesne has turned around, recording four straight wins, the most recent a 10-9 shootout win over Washington and Jefferson on Wednesday. The Dukes possess a balanced scoring attack with five players with at least 10 points through nine games.

Whidden said the Dukes’ style of play and offensive tempo mirrors the Flashes.

“They have a lot of good players,” Whidden said. “They have a good pool of players in Pittsburgh. (They’re) a very fast team.”

After last weekend, however, the Flashes are concentrating on not feeling content.

“With the way our ranking systems are, we definitely have to win every game,” Bruder said. “We can’t take a weekend off. We have to finish our games out and play a full 60 minutes.”

Contact sports correspondent Jeremy Juhasz at [email protected].