Broncs looks to freeze Owls on home ice

By Chris Masiello

The Rider Ice Hockey team is getting ready to host the Temple Owls (7-3-0-0) on Saturday at the Loucks Ice Center. The Broncs (4-2-1-0) look to extend their winning streak to four against Temple, who defeated them twice last year. Rider is coming off two recent wins over Maryland and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).

Senior forward Ryan Gifford knows the team has to be prepared for a tough and grueling game.

“Our game against Temple this weekend is going to be a war,” Gifford said. “They are a good team and are physical as well.  We are going to have to be ready to come out and skate hard for a full 60 minutes, play physical but stick to our style of hockey.”

A big reason for the team’s recent success is its strong offensive play. During its winning streak the team has scored no less than three goals in each game, including back-to-back six goal performances last weekend. This weekend, Rider’s offensive game plan will be to hit the shot chart hard as well as getting traffic in front of the net.

“When playing a good team like Temple we focus on getting a lot of pucks on the net increasing our chances to score,” Head Coach Sean Levin said. “We also want to have a lot of traffic in front of the net, getting screens on the goalie while attacking with shots.”

Junior forward Tyler Deitrick currently leads the team with 13 points, eight assists and ranks second in goals with five. In last Saturday’s win over Maryland, he had a hat trick.

Defensively, the Broncs’ focus will be to limit penalty minutes and to prevent opponents from pressuring their net. In their last game the Broncs accounted for five penalties, equaling 10 minutes being shorthanded.

“Lately we have been having trouble staying out of the box,” said Andrew Nebus, the junior defensive captain “It’s never easy to play a man down,” “Also, I believe we need to be better in front of our own net by clearing people out so our goalie can see the puck better.”

Although the team has been hot as of late, the coaches still feel the team has some things to work on. One thing the staff has stressed the most is playing hard for the entire game.

“Even though we have been playing good lately, we have yet to play a full 60-minute game because of stretches where we lose focus,” Levin said. “We know if we can start putting full games together, we can become a dangerous team.”

Gifford noticed the mental lapses against TCNJ last weekend and knows his team can play better.

“This past weekend we didn’t really play hard for a full 60 minutes,” Gifford said. “At times we stopped playing our game and started playing sloppy. That is why TCNJ put a couple goals in on us. Once we snapped out of the sloppy play, we started dominating again.”

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