By Rob Rose
After winning its first two, the club hockey team split a pair of games this weekend, defeating Monmouth 7-0 before losing to Providence 7-0.
In its first road game of the season, Rider continued the hot start offensively. After scoring six goals in their first two games, the Broncs exploded with seven goals against the Hawks.
Starting in net for the Broncs was junior goalie Carter Siani. In the second Rider shutout of the season, Siani saved all 20 shots he faced.
Senior forward Eric Bozzi dominated the first period, scoring twice. One goal was assisted by junior forward Cole Moskal and the other by junior forward Vincent Arlotta and freshman defenseman Mike Kauffman. After one period, the Broncs led 2-0.
The second period was led by a trio of the Broncs’ core players. Senior defenseman JJ Santagata was crucial to the Broncs’ offense, assisting on all three goals scored. Junior forward Nicholas Leelum scored two goals, and senior forward Chris Johnson added a goal and an assist.
Leelum is in his first full season playing forward after beginning his career as a defenseman.
Head Coach Sean Levin attributed Leelum having a clear role for his strong start as well as his unique skill set.
“His speed and drive are what separate him from other centers in the league,” Levin said.
During the third period, Moskal continued his stellar start to the season, scoring once and assisting Arlotta. Over three games, Moskal found the net a team-high four times, not including the game-winning goal in the shootout victory over Army on Sept. 24.
When asked about the difference this season in Moskal’s play, Levin credited his work from this offseason. “We challenged him in the gym and on the track, and he exceeded expectations,” Levin said.
When the final horn sounded, the Broncs came out on top, 7-0.
The following night, Rider welcomed Providence to the Loucks Ice Center. In their first game of the season, the Friars were in midseason form, handing the Broncs their first loss, 7-0.
After a shutout in his first start, junior goalie CJ Lineman was put to the test on Sept. 29.
The first two periods were closely contested. The Broncs and Friars traded scoring chances, but an inability to finish power-play opportunities hurt Rider. After two periods, Providence led 2-0.
Opening the third period, the Broncs had another opportunity to capitalize on the one-man advantage but missed out. The Friars quickly countered, extending the lead to 3-0 on a goal by Doug Caliendo.
This was the beginning of the end for the Broncs, as a stream of penalties and goals resulted in the final score of 7-0.
“It’s a tough one when you play with a team for 40 minutes, then lose a third like that,” Santagata said.
The Broncs look to get back into the win column with a pair of home games this weekend.
Rider will face off against The College of New Jersey on Oct. 7 at 8:30 p.m. and Maryland on Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m.