Westfield State Owls coach Bob Miele is ready to get his hockey team on the right path this season after only putting together 13 wins in the past two years. Starting slowly then finishing strong, or vice versa, had Miele looking for answers on why his team could not put together a full season in back-to-back-years.
This past Friday, the Owls defeat of a strong Western New England University (WNEU) program, 4-3, may be a sign that they are indeed ready for the full season ahead.
“This was a big win for us; Western New England is a strong, well-coached team that I believe will contend for a [ECAC] Northeast title this year,” stated Miele, who is now in his fourth season as head coach of the Owls. “We started off slow, but I have to give the players credit for having the character to chip away under adversity.”
Heading into Friday’s contest, and given the track records of both teams, a win for the Golden Bears seemed like the logical outcome. On paper, WNEU holds a fully-loaded roster capable of making that title run that Miele alluded to. The Golden Bears put together a 14-12-1 record last year, which was also its first winning season since 1993-94. WNEU, in its own right, is also ready to make a run and become a force in the ECAC Northeast.
Even though one game — an albeit the first of the year — does not decide the season for a program, it should, in this case, give the Owls a feeling of confidence as they continue on the 2012-13 campaign.
“I think we learned a couple lessons from this game; we need to come out strong and play a full 60 minutes,” added Miele, a former collegiate player at Amherst. “But, if we do fall behind, we know we can come back.”
What an opening night comeback it was. The Owls trailed WNEU, 3-0, after the first period of play, but rattled off four unanswered goals, including three in the three period, to nab the first win of the season.
“We know we have a long way to go and a lot of mistakes to correct, but we look forward to playing Assumption,” noted Miele.
Looking forward sounds just about right for the Owls program: Looking forward to putting together a full, winning season like it has done before.
Players of the Week
Rookie of the Week
Max Lorenzen, Fitchburg Sate, forward. The Leesburg, Va. native posted two goals and one assist over two games to lead the Falcons’ offense.
Offensive Player of the Week
Defenseman of the Week
David Smolinsky, Salem State, Senior. The former Walpole Star kicked off his senior year in the right way, netting the game winner versus Salve Regina in the Vikings season opener. Honorable mentions: Worcester SO. Cody Osburn, JR. Curtis Martin.
Goaltender of the Week
Randy Wolcott, Fitchburg State, Junior. He stopped 49 shots and only surrendered three goals in two games for the Falcons. Honorable mention: Ian Perrier, Westfield State, Sophomore.