By David Pavlak
The Rider hockey team continued its success by rolling through Rutgers, 6-2, and George Washington, 10-2, igniting its season to a 4-0 start. The goals came fast and from numerous players, but it was sophomore Steve Geffre and senior captain D.J. Nork who led the Broncs.
Rider opened the scoring against Rutgers on Friday with a goal by senior Mike Weaver. Before the period ended, Geffre tallied one to end the first period with a two-goal advantage.
“Our team came out wanting to win that game [against Rutgers] pretty bad — our line, especially, after going scoreless against Millersville,” Geffre said. “We needed to start putting points up. My first goal I got a rainbow pass from my line mate [sophomore] Ryan Gifford and then it was tapped past the two defensemen which sent me on a breakaway, and I just shot it low and scored. It was definitely nice to get that first one out of the way.”
When play resumed, Rider deposited another score before Geffre fired in his second goal to put the Broncs up 4-0. Nork iced the victory for Rider by scoring a power play goal with 13 minutes left to go in the game.
“This is by far the most skilled line I have played with,” Nork said. “[Sophomore] Frank Garvey and [junior] Connor Dragone complement my skills in a way that, so far, no team has been able to match.”
Saturday night, the Broncs came back home to face the Colonials. Rider came out skating hard, scoring fast and celebrating often. Nork scored back-to-back goals a minute apart from each other in the first period, opening the floodgates for Rider’s offensive explosion.
Freshman Dylan Duffy netted a pair of goals scattered through the first and third period and Geffre finished with two goals. Nork completed the game with a hat-trick, and Dragone scored a shorthanded goal while freshman Anthony LoBianco and Gifford also scored.
The Broncs have their sights set high this year after falling short in the conference championship last season.
“Last year, although we did make it to the finals, we didn’t win it all, so this year I think it’s all about getting back to that point and getting over that hump,” Geffre said.
Nork is keeping things in perspective despite the sizzling start.
“Even though we are 4-0 right now, we can’t get big heads,” he said. “We got a taste of the MACHA championship last year and still can’t stop thinking about our great season, but now we have another long road ahead to get back there.”
Rider plays Penn State tonight at 9 p.m. on its home ice and follows it up with a Saturday night showdown against state foe, Monmouth. The puck drops at 9 p.m.