To take advantage of an opportunity, a team must be able to recognize the situation and take action. For the Worcester Lancers, that is what exactly happened during the Thanksgiving weekend, as they swept the Worcester City Shootout tournament to capture their first two victories of the campaign.
“This tournament came at the right time,” said Lancers coach John Guiney, who is now in his 21st season with the program. “The team has been playing well, but we couldn’t score. We mixed some lines around and threw in freshman. It worked out well in the tournament.”
Before the tournament, the Lancers were 0-6-0 overall and were struggling to find the back of the net, as Guiney’s squad only tallied a total of nine goals. Additionally, in their last two games before the holiday event, opponents outscored the Lancers, 10-2.
However, spirits were not broken in Worcester. Throughout the dry spell, the Lancers had lost one game in overtime and dropped a one-goal contest to MASCAC heavyweight Mass.-Dartmouth. The team just needed a bit more time to get things in motion.
“We played strong in the loss to Westfield State and had some close battles,” added Guiney. “There were even games that we outshot opponents, but just couldn’t score.”
Guiney then decided to shift his lineup and added six true freshmen before the first game of the Worcester City Shootout.
Game one of the Worcester City Shootout featured the Lancers against the Assumption Greyhounds, a 1-9-0 program that competes in the NE-10. There was no better time for the Lancers to go out, take advantage of the opportunity, and grab their first victory of the season.
“The freshmen looked real good,” said Guiney, who also mentioned that most of the freshmen came right out of high school. “They were smart, creative, and offensive. It was a nice feeling to see they responded so well. I am happy for them.”
After the close 2-1 win, the Lancers then took on Becker College of the ECAC-Northeast for the tourney championship, where they would get another superb performance from freshman goalie Salvatore Tecci.
“Sal played great for us,” Guiney added. “He will start Thursday, and it his net to lose right now.”
With the tourney sweep, there was a sense of relief for the Lancers. The program does not have the weight of losing on its back anymore, and can start playing with more confidence down the stretch.
“We had some real good practices after the two wins,” said Guiney. “It may have even been some of the best we had in a while. Guys seem relaxed and hungry.”
Worcester’s next step now is to build off theses back-to-back wins and try to grab its first MASCAC victory.
“We need to keep this going, especially when we play MASCAC teams,” explained Guiney. “No program is soft in our conference, so we need to continue this momentum.”
The Lancers recognized an opportunity in claiming their first two wins at the Worcester City Shootout. Now for Guiney and his club, Thursday’s MASCAC game against Framingham State may present itself with the same opportunity.
Another chance for the Lancers to take action.
Players of the Week
Rookie of the Week
Salvatore Tecci, Worcester State Lancers, Freshman. The Franklin, Mass. native stopped 53 shots in two games for the Lancers, earning a spot on the Worcester City Shootout all-tournament team. Along with the two victories, the freshman netminder finished the tournament with a 2.00 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
Offensive Player of the Week
Dan Dempsey, Mass.-Dartmouth Corsairs, Senior. Collected two points on a goal and an assist in the Corsairs’ 5-4 overtime victory over Wesleyan.
Defenseman of the Week
Zach Hepler, Mass.-Dartmouth Corsairs, Senior. Has registered three points on a goal and two assists in his last two games for the Corsairs. A transfer from Plattsburgh State, Hepler currently leads all Corsairs’ defensemen in points with four.
Goaltender of the Week
Tyler Ingerson, Plymouth State Panthers, Junior. Stopped 24 of 25 shots in the Panthers’ 2-1 win over Wentworth. This was the first meeting between the two programs since last year’s NCAA D-III opening round match-up.