Hockey’s long-awaited battle will come days after its third-straight loss

Mia Cadle, Reporter

Before the season even began, Kent State’s hockey team already had Nov. 9 marked as a big early-season test.

After losing two league games this weekend, the Flashes are looking to make changes before its next game against John Carroll.

“We don’t have much time to mess around with things and tinker anymore,” coach Zachary Nowak said. “We’ve already backed ourselves into a corner, and we’ve got to find a way to dig ourselves out.”

John Carroll is in second place in the College Hockey Mid-American league with a 3-1 record. Kent State is 0-3 in College Hockey Mid-America play and 3-5-1 overall.

The Blue Streaks beat Kent State 6-3 in the first round of the league tournament playoffs last season.

After not scoring in the second and third periods of Friday’s game, Kent State lost to Mercyhurst, 5-1. The Flashes’ only goal was from forward Hunter Hillebrecht, making his goal count 5.

“It’s pretty disheartening right now that we’re in this place,” Nowak said. “It’s early in the season. We’ve got to find a way to battle back and figure ourselves out here. We should have had [the win] at Duquesne, we should have had it here.”

KSU lost to Duquesne 9-5 Oct. 23.

In Saturday’s game, Kent State’s forward Jack Kinsman had two goals against first-place Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but the Flashes lost, 4-2. Kinsman leads the team with six goals.

“It’s a great feeling,” Kinsman said, “but the overall goal when you play hockey is to win games and win together as a team.”

The loss was Kent State’s third in a row, but captain Zachary Zwierecki said IUP was “one of the best games we’ve played.”

“We lost against Mercyhurst, and that was hard,” Zweirecki said, “but we came in the next day against a top-25 team and had them on the ropes the entire game.”

The game was tied with three minutes to go when IUP scored, adding another goal against an empty net in the last minute.

“I hope everyone brings the same effort level and intensity we brought to the IUP game to the game against John Carroll,” Zweirecki said.

The Flashes only have two practices before the John Carroll game Wednesday.

“We talked about a few changes within our system that we want to make,” Nowak said, “whether it’s changing some of the things we’re currently running, moving some lines around or possibly the way we’re practicing.”

The game starts at 9:30 p.m. at John Carroll. The Blue Streaks are on a two-game winning streak and have a 3-4 home record.

“The game is going to be a tough one,” Kinsman said. “We have yet to beat John Carroll at John Carroll. A lot of guys here have a big chip on their shoulders, and we’re looking to go in and take care of business.”

Mia Cadle is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].