AmCats anxious for real competition

Last year’s leading scorer Sam Cyr-Ledoux and his Anna Maria College teammates are anxious to drop the puck for real after two straight weekends of COVID-related cancellations. Credit © Brian Foley for Anna Maria Athletics.

Among the few teams with a schedule at the D-III level in the East, Anna Maria College has had their patience and resolve tested by game postponements on successive weekends. Forced to cancel weekend series with Becker and Babson due to positive COVID tests has heightened the team’s desire to play in real games and challenged the coaching staff in keeping the teams’ faith during the ongoing pandemic.

“It is really disheartening,” stated head coach Dave McCauley. “Last week it was positive tests on the Becker side and this past weekend it was a positive test in our locker room that forced the cancellations against Babson. We have all tested negative multiple times since the lone positive test but need to adhere to the school’s guidelines that also include the positive player having an EKG post-quarantine. We will be off the ice until Monday 2/8 and hope to get back to the normalcy and fun that practicing has meant to the players.”

The back-to-back cancellations have most definitely challenged the coaching staff on the mental side of keeping the team engaged and interested. Most impacted have been the seniors who justifiably show signs of being both disheartened and, as a result, disinterested.

“It’s hard on all of the players,” noted McCauley. “But for the seniors, they have to also consider their planning for completion of school and dealing with the job market in a pandemic. I know they love the game and their teammates but having the opportunity to play real games taken away at the last moments before game time has left some of the players heartbroken. It’s our job as a coaching staff to find ways to keep them engaged and excited so hopefully getting back on the ice this week and ready for real games next weekend will help the morale.”

The rink and intra-squad games have still been a place of enjoyment for the varsity and JV players that have been on the ice since last fall. Last fall’s intra-squad scrimmage was one of the highlights of the fall sessions on ice and showcased the high level of enthusiasm the players still have for playing the game.

It was great fun to see the players in the intra-squad scrimmage,” said McCauley. “I think the final score was 7-6 in OT between our two squads and the pace of play was great. We were hoping that would translate into the beginning of the 2021 calendar and expect the players will be enthused when they finally see a different color uniform on the opposing bench.”

The AmCats are scheduled to face Babson in a second home-and-home series at the end of the month and will hopefully have a few games under their belt to show their continued improvement from last year’s team that achieved a program-high of 12 wins. The forward trio of Sam Cyr-Ledoux, Jack Sitzman and Gavin Proeh combined for 40 of the AmCats’ 65 goals and 100 points of the team’s total of 166. As juniors there is high expectation that they will continue to improve their games while other players step up to provide more balance.“We have added nine freshmen to the roster along with some key transfers on defense,” noted McCauley. “We all want to see how they respond to real game action so hopefully the worst is behind us and we can focus on getting back on the ice and ready to play a real opponent next weekend.”

Anna Maria is currently scheduled to play Plymouth State on February 19 and 20 in a home-and home series in what they hope will be the first of a ten-game schedule that closes with the Panthers on March 20.