After winning two big home games this past weekend with a combined score of 16-3, the men’s hockey team has clinched a spot in the National Tournament.
It started with a 9-1 victory this past Wednesday as Hudson Valley played host to the Mohawk Valley Hawks. The Vikings were previously 6-8 on the season after defeating Broome at an away game on January 21st and were looking for a spark that would save their season.
Considering the last time Hudson Valley and Mohawk Valley faced off, a game which ended in a 2-1 overtime win, attendees believed the results of this game could have gone either way.
Freshman player Adam Hosmer from Westfield, Mass., scored the first goal for the Vikings in just over two minutes into the first period. “We just came off of a big win against Broome so it was just good to get back on the ice and keep it going,” said Hosmer.
The Hawk’s only goal came as time was winding down in the first period. Despite leading Mohawk 3-1, the the Hawks seemed to out skate the Vikings during the first period.
“I think we are a better hockey team than they are, it just took us a while to get going,” said Matt Alvey, Vikings head coach. “It’s been an up and down season. We’re trying to tighten up everything so we can keep playing and progressing,” said Alvey.
The Vikings came back even harder in the second period with scoring three more goals and beginning to out skate the Hawks.
By the time the third period came around, Mohawk Valley pulled their goalie, Freddie Peters, and put in Joe Bonanza to try to save the team. Within minutes freshman Nick VanLiew, from Ballston Spa, scored the final goal of the game assisted by freshman Sean Spohr from Westfield, Mass.. This would be the dagger that Hudson Valley was looking for, sealing the Hawks’ fate.
Spohr believed that the Hawks’ weak spot was their defensive coverage. “We were open pretty much the whole time. They just let us stay open and so we could get some quality shots in,” said Spohr.
Goalie Nate Muller for Hudson Valley kept up during the game with a total of 29 saves. “I don’t think I faced many challenging shots and I think it was because of the defense,” said Muller. “I think we’re improving as a team and our system is getting a lot better,” Muller continued.
The next game was Saturday as the Vikings hosted the Broome Hornets in a game that Hudson Valley needed to get back into contention and they did in a big way. They beat Broome 7-2 and dominated in all facets of the game.
Broome didn’t get their first shot on goal in the game until 8:26 left in the first period. By that time Hudson Valley was up 1-0 and did not surrender the lead.
Spohr finished the game with four goals and has really come on late for this team. Spohr has needed time to adjust to the collegiate level, but now is seen as a threat by every team in the league.
“In the beginning of the season I was definitely having a lot more trouble clicking and getting used to a new style of play, but one I got used to it it just started working out,” said Spohr. Sean now has 15 goals on the season and things seem to be clicking for he and his team at the right time.
The team got off to a 2-6 record to start the season, but with Saturday’s win they are now 8-8 and right back into contention. Most of these kids have never played hockey with each other before the start of this season and now seem as if they’ve been on the ice together as a unit for years.
“Our goal is to win the rest of the games,” said head coach Matt Alvey. “Our philosophy is that we come to practice every day and work hard and prepare for each game that we’re going to have each week.”
The Vikings and the Hawks will face off again this Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Mcdonough Sports Complex. After that, the Vikings will have four games remaining before Nationals on Feb. 27. If they keep up the pace they’ve been playing at, they have a good chance to win it all a year before the curtain closes.