Club hockey’s 20th year begins with a strong start

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The SLU men’s club hockey team has entered its 20th season with a strong 3-1 start. Tus far, the squad has taken down Illinois with a pair of victories on Sept. 16 and 17.

SLU’s first regular season game against the Illini was a tough fight, but the Billikens came back from a 4-1 defi- cit to take the 5-4 win. They brought that momentum into Saturday’s game to take another match from Illinois with a 5-2 victory.

Senior Isaac Rider commented on his team’s upfront style of play and the success it brings them against a myriad of teams. “We like to play a very fast and aggressive game. We like to pressure the other team into making mistakes, and then capitalizing on those mistakes,” he said.

Last season, SLU started on the back foot, with a 3-10 record halfway through the year. However, they ended at 13-14-1 in the regular season, showing a resilient nature while sticking through a long year. Te big wins the team pulled out, despite the rough start, helped them qualify for the MACHA playoffs. Going into the 20th year of the club hockey program, this year is significant for the current Billikens as well as the future of the program. “I think the hockey team is very fortunate to have been around for 20 years, so I think a successful season would be the best way to embrace that.”

This success manifests itself in the high expectations the team has of one another and the results they seek to produce this year. “Everyone on the team has high expectations this year,” he said. “We expect to make it to the regional playoffs, and we are thinking that reaching the national tournament is achievable. We have a lot of talented and dedicated players on our team, and we are all aware of how successful we should be.”

Behind the relentless pace on the ice, the team has a relaxed atmosphere on campus and outside the sport. “Our team is pretty laid back. We know we can be very successful this year, so we take our practices and games very seriously. But in the locker room and around campus, it’s all fun,” Rider said.

The Billikens will be back in action against McKendree on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 25 at 1:45 p.m. at Webster Groves Ice Arena. SLU faces their first road games on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Illinois State. All SLU students are granted free admission to home games.