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Men's ice hockey team prepares to play

by Alison Maurer-Advertising Editor
Thu, Feb 16th 2017 01:00 pm
Courtney Sherwin/THE STYLUS
Courtney Sherwin/THE STYLUS

Every athlete knows how hard it can be to get up every week and head into the arena. It takes guts, patience and determination to get their heads into the game. No matter the sport, no matter the stakes and no matter the odds stacked against them, they still have to get up and go at it on the field, track or ice.

Prepping for competitions is different for each player; the morning before any Golden Eagles hockey game, Tuttle North Ice Arena is brimming with players. All of them are reaching for the same goal — a win to propel them to the SUNYACs — but each man handles it in a different way.

"I just try to relax, get different scenarios in my head and try not to think too much," freshman goalie Matt Schneider said. "It's been pretty much the same thing through my career. You find things that work, you find things that don't work. I've got it pretty well figured out."

Goalies are often considered the oddballs of the team. They have a lot of extra pressure to perform and often have additional and unorthodox routines to get them into the zone.

"We get kind of a bad rep, some of us are kinda weird, myself included," Schneider said. "I don't know about these guys, but they probably have their own superstitions just like I have mine. I don't know if it's different, it's just hockey at the end of the day."

Ice hockey is a bit different from other sports. Not only do most of the players play all through high school, they also spend a couple of years playing junior hockey in amateur leagues around the United States and Canada. The experience on the ice leads them to having a lot more experience in getting ready for important games. Freshman skater Luke Bennett uses these experiences to get into the groove before a hockey game.

"I try to stay positive and keep my mind on other things, kinda steer away from hockey, which I know is a different approach," Bennett said. "Some guys really like to focus in and I like to keep my mind open."

Superstition is also an important part of the game for many players.

"I put on my right skate before my left skate, right shin pad before my left shin pad. Always tape up my stick with five and a half strips of tape before every game. I wet my hair before I go out on the ice every day," Bennett said. "Every hockey player has those little things."

The locker room is a notorious spot for players and coaches alike to pump themselves up for a game. Inspiration is important before a game and it often comes down to the captains and the coaches to bring that element to the table.

"We focus on what we think the theme of any given day should be," Head Coach Brian Dickinson said. "For example, in Plattsburgh we talked about making memories. In 10 or 20 years, we're gonna run into someone who was at this game. We have to think about what kind of memories we're making for that person and what memories we're making for ourselves."

For some teams, a morning skate is one of the most important parts of a pregame routine. The College at Brockport however, has taken a different approach.

"This year, with the number of injuries we've had, we do less of a morning skate. We do get them up and stretched, it's not always necessary to get them onto the ice for those 25 or 30 minutes," Dickinson said. "The worst thing you can do is let them sleep all day and try to get up for another big game."

Big games like this are important for the Golden Eagles, but as Bennett says: "If you can't get up for a game like this, I don't know why you play hockey."

Although the Golden Eagles lost both games this past weekend, they still have a chance at the title. If they beat both SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh this upcoming weekend, they will make the playoffs. Even though Plattsburgh is the No. 3 team in the conference, the Golden Eagles are holding onto hope as they close out the rest of the season at their arena.

Senior Day for the men's ice hockey team will be Saturday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m. in Tuttle North.  We will see if the graduating seniors earn a win on their special day.



Photo of the Week

Taken by Mathieu Starke, staff photographer

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