By Brianna Moynihan, Saint Reporter
Courtesy of Andris Visockis
The Aquinas Men’s Hockey team opened up 2017 with a series win over Waldorf University in Minnesota. The team then went on to defeat Adrian College this past weekend, putting them at a 19-3-1 overall record with 3 series remaining this season. However, assistant head coach Mark VanVliet believes the season is just getting heated up.
“Our second semester schedule is brutal and is going to be a real grind – that’s by design,” VanVliet said. “We finish off our league games with series against Hope and Calvin on back to back weekends – both of which are real rivalry games. Those series will feature some great hockey.
But despite the tough second half schedule, the atmosphere of the team is enthusiastic.
“I would have to say that overall the guys are a pretty tight knit group – everyone gets along and we’ve got a real positive locker room so good for them,” VanVliet said. “We’ve got something like ten seniors and these guys have played in some monster games in the past so they know what’s at stake here and that at this point in the season it’s time to buckle down and get to work.”
According to coach VanVliet, it is difficult to single out a single key player. However, he does attribute some of the team’s success to the solid goaltending led by seniors Sean Schmeiser and Matt Glowacki.
“These guys give us a “one – two punch” in net and I would put them up against anybody – anytime,” VanVliet said. “Just to see them develop over the past 4 years has been a real privilege.”
Looking back at the start of the season, the coaching staff sees the improvements they have made in creating accountability in their defensive zone. But the Saints recognize what needs to be done if they hope to make a long playoff run.
“We’re looking for improvement in all aspects of our game,” VanVliet said. “Our holistic approach is really about being ‘better today than you were yesterday.’”
The men’s hockey team believes they would not be as successful if it weren’t for the backing they receive from the Aquinas’ community.
“We appreciate so much the support we receive from the athletic department, staff, and especially the student body,” VanVliet said. “Their attendance at our games is critical to our success and certainly more so as we come down to the wire here.”