Hockey earns third-straight win but falls next day

Mia Cadle, Reporter

After beating third-place Robert Morris on its way to a weekend split, Kent State’s hockey team is “in a good place,” according to assistant coach Aaron Hernandez.

“We did some good things this weekend,” said Hernandez, who filled in for coach Zachary Nowak this weekend. “We learned a lot, so overall it was a very beneficial weekend.

“We prepared well yesterday and executed well. The team came together and performed at a very high level, and it’s often hard to replicate. We learned a lot about ourselves today and about battling for game two or three. It’s the follow-up and consistency that matters.”

Senior defenseman Mitch Pozwick said that “for weekends like these, you have to lock down.”

“Once you win one game, you have to win the next one,” Pozwick said. “I think we are going to take this loss and move forward together.”

In Saturday’s game, Kent State lost to Duquesne, 8-2.

The Flashes are 2-5 and in sixth place in the College Hockey Mid-America league. The Flashes are 5-7-1 overall.

Robert Morris is 3-2 in the CHMA and is 8-6-1 overall. Duquesne is 3-4 and 6-9.

In Friday’s game, the Flashes beat Robert Morris 4-1. Kent State’s first goal was scored in the first period by forward Joey Gallo –his third of the season.

“The team is coming together,” Gallo said. “We were struggling at the beginning of the season, but we are starting to figure each other out.

“We have a lot of new guys this year, and I think that is going to be huge for us. Going forward, I think we are going to get better.”

Kent State scored three goals in the third period. Forward David Rankin recorded his fourth of the season while forward Zach Zweriecki, the team’s captain, scored his fifth goal.

“Scoring felt great,” Zweriecki said. “Especially since it was a close game, and it put us up by two.”

Forward Jake Friedman scored Kent State’s final goal of the night on an open net with 31 seconds left. It was his second goal of the season.

Kent State had lost to Duquesne earlier this year, 9-5.

“We know Duquesne comes ready to compete,” Hernandez said. “They are fast, competitive and have a really good goaltender.

“We tried to formulate a game plan that was tailored around raising our competing level up, being able to put the puck in the net, and we had a lot of really good chances today.”

Pozwick put the Flashes on the board Saturday with his first goal of the season.

“I didn’t realize it went in,” Pozwick said. “I thought it hit the post and then went wide, but it’s a good feeling. I had a lot of close ones in the first half of the season, so it feels nice to have one find its point.”

KSU’s second goal was scored by forward Johnny Gabriel, his second of the season.

The Flashes’ next game is a rematch at Robert Morris at 8 p.m. Dec. 3.

“We can compete with anyone in this league,” Pozwick said. “I think it was shown when we played against West Virginia and Robert Morris. Those wins show that we can compete with the higher-level teams that are ranked above us.”

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