From The Oswegonian
By Dan Rys
After heartbreaker last season, Lakers look to start off season strong against Villanova.
The Oswego State men’s club hockey team is walking into the season with a chip on their shoulder after a rough loss to SUNY Buffalo in last year’s Northeast Collegiate Hockey League (NECHL) semifinals.
It is not the time to dwell on the past, however, as this sparks the beginning of a brand new season with plenty of fresh faces on the team.
“At the end of the day players graduate, you get new players in, and those guys are gonna make some differences,” said head coach Travis Hyde. “New season, same goals…at the end of the day it’s just one game at a time.”
The Lakers’ first matchup of the season comes out of Pennsylvania against the Villanova University Wildcats: a team that Hyde has not faced since his first season coaching this team back in 2021. Over that time, the game plan still has not wavered for the Lakers.
“For us it’s still all about having a fast start,” Hyde said. “We’re trying to get the crowd into the game, get Villanova (University) on their heels…the biggest goal for us is just staying on the gas…get them (Villanova) a little shell shocked.”
Junior Matthew Cardi, who led all defensemen in assists last season with 19, said that it is all about setting the tone for the season this weekend.
“Obviously it’s the home opener, we’re trying to get people there,” Cardi said. “Villanova (University) is a tough opponent but I’ve been on the ice with them a couple times and we’ll see what’s in store…it’s a big piece for the season to see how everything is going to go. We need everyone to buy in and we’ll go from there.”
Winning is everything to the Lakers, according to senior Trevor Jubran, who led the team last season in goals with 16 and was third on the team in assists with 18.
“It’s (winning) is very crucial,” Jubran said. “Having a team like Villanova (University) come in the first weekend is a great test. It’s always good to open up with a win, it always just boosts confidence…I like the team we have this year and getting a win will only help us keep going in the upward direction we’re heading on.”
Looking beyond just the Wildcats this weekend, the Lakers still have one thing on their mind.
“We say this all the time, the vision is to go to nationals and win our league championship,” Jubran said. “This year we’re really sticking to what it takes to actually get there. We’re going to put in the work this year, we’re coming together as a team, the culture’s great and we’re just going to keep going game by game to get to that end goal of winning our league championship for the first time in our team’s history.”
“As a team we’re just looking at that big prize at the end,” Matthew Cardi said. “We’ve been knocking on it for the past few seasons now, we’re just hoping for that big trophy at the end of the season.”
“We all want the same thing, all of our players and coaching staff want to win the NECHL,” Hyde mentioned. “We want to win the championship, we want to go to nationals, and we want to make some sort of statement at nationals. That has been the goal of the team ever since I joined the program. Our reputation is building…last year we were ranked top 25 17 weeks in a row…against division-one caliber schools. We want to build this image of a small little school in Northern New York but man, they’re good at hockey…that’s what we’re looking to do”.
The Lakers will kick off the season at home against Villanova University Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15 and at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 in the Deb.
(Originally published at https://www.oswegonian.com/2023/09/14/oswego-state-club-hockey-heads-into-season-determined-to-win-the-whole-thing/)