The Lehigh men’s club ice hockey team will take on the 1-0 Rider University team Friday in hopes to improve its 2-4 record.
Lehigh is coming off a 5-3 loss against Towson University last Friday. The team is looking to bring a lot of energy and to continue to improve on some aspects that have been going well the past few games.
“Our power play has improved a lot in the past few games and our goal-tending has been stellar this year,” sophomore Steve Friedman said.
The Mountain Hawks are also looking to improve their play and eliminate some mistakes they have made so far this season.
“We have been a little slow at the start of the game, and we need to work on our endurance throughout the game,” sophomore center Evan Goldstein said. He also said that the team needs to cut down on its penalty minutes in order to be more successful in future games.
So far, the season has been a series of ups and downs. The team endured a difficult start, playing a nationally-ranked University of Rhode Island team in its second game of the season.
“The biggest obstacle the team has faced so far was playing Rhode Island, who is ranked in the top 15 in the country,” Goldstein said. “We played them right at the beginning of the season as well as some other challenging opponents, like Temple and Penn State.”
The team is trying to institute a culture change this year to get the players more committed to the team’s goals, according to Goldstein.
“This year we brought in a new assistant coach, Pat Carroll, as well as some talented freshmen, and we are trying to get everyone committed to new team goals including a focus on nutrition, getting plenty of sleep, and adding more team lifts,” he said.
Friedman also attributed some of the team’s successes this season to the new freshmen class, as well as other changes that have been implemented this year.
“The freshmen have given us some good depth, and our practices are more high tempo this year,” he said. “We are trying more to keep the feet moving the entire practice because how you play at practice is transferred into the game.”
Along with these new team goals, junior Justin Uzcategui said the team hopes to end up with a better record and be one of the top seeded teams in the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.
According to Goldstein, this is a very realistic goal because the team has very good chemistry on and off the ice.
Friedman echoed Goldstein’s comment about the team’s dynamic.
“Our team is very tight knit and committed to attending practice,” he said. “We are also very lucky to have four great coaches that give us a lot of support.”
Goldstein and Friedman both feel the team is ready for the matchup against Rider on Friday, and the team’s new goals and strong dynamics will lead them to success the rest of the season and into post-season play.
The drop of the puck is set for 8 p.m. at the Steel Ice Center in Bethlehem.