Today: Feb 21, 2024

Ice Owls ready for Nationals

PETE PAGUAGASports Editor
The Ice Owls have achieved the goal they sent out to accomplish at the beginning of the season—going to nationals.
They finished with an 18-1 record last season, losing only to Penn State-Brandywine on the road. After missing out on the national tournament previously, they said they knew that they would make the tournament this season.
“Last year we thought we could get to nationals,” said Ice Owls captain Joe Innamorato. “This year we knew we would.”
“The main difference is the goaltending between Mike [Federico] and Shayne [O’Brien],” said Innamorato. “We win games 4-3 now.”
Depth was a word that Ice Owls forward Steve Rosenkrantz stressed.
“We have a lot of contribution from all four lines.”
The team chemistry is also a big part in the Ice Owls’ success this season.
“The team camaraderie has been huge,” said Rosenkrantz. “We bought into each other, we pushed each other this season.”
There wasn’t much of a turnover in the roster from last season, but old and new Ice Owls alike have all stepped up to help lead them to nationals. Freshman Justin MacGregor is one of those players, said Innamorato. Rosenkrantz said the improvement of forward Mike Diglio from last year to this year has really helped the team.
“Mike Diglio is a completely different player,” said Rosenkrantz. “He is playing with confidence.”
Also different from last year was the Ice Owls’ ability to win the close, low-scoring games.
“We are winning games with different styles; we are winning the physical games and the tight games,” said Innamorato.
Innamorato wasn’t the sole captain of the Ice Owls this season; he shared the duties with Matt D’Amato. After the fall semester ended, D’Amato graduated from Southern, so he can not play for the Ice Owls this semester. D’Amato hopes to help as an assistant coach.
“It hurts with Matt gone,” said Rosenkrantz, “but other people are stepping up.”
“The way Matt carries himself, he commands respect,” said Innamorato.
Before the Ice Owls travel to New Jersey for Nationals, they will attempt to defend their Empire Collegiate Hockey Conference title. Last season, even though the Ice Owls didn’t make the national tournament they won the Empire Collegiate Hockey Conference beating two teams that went to the national tournament.
“We won’t be thinking ahead to nationals,” said Innamorato. “We got comfortable with this trophy.”
Going into nationals the Ice Owls are confident that they won’t be one and done but that they will make some noise in the tournament.
“We’re not going to do anything different; we are going to stick to our game,” said Innamorato.
“I expect us to win.”

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