A promising start to men’s hockey season

After besting a Plymouth State team 9-1 and Saint Michael’s College 4-1 to start the season, the Cadets have now won five in a row. The men’s hockey team captain credits their wins to playing “great defensive games.”

Captain Alec Thieda, a defenseman and senior business management major from Rochester Hills, Mich., joins six other returning seniors for the Cadets.
Thieda is proud of what the Cadets have accomplished thus far, but expects the team to continue on their current winning streak.
“As the team gets healthier, we will only get better and more competitive,” he said.
The injury bug has bitten the cadets early this season as sophomore William Pelletier went out with an injury. Many teammates predicted Pelletier would be the highest goal scorer on the team this year.
Tyler Piacentini, 21, a sophomore communications major from Weymouth, Mass, has been racking up goals however. He had a three-goal night against Plymouth State and said “the outlook on the season has not changed. (The team) is 2-0 but we still have a lot of work to do and need to get better every day.”
Piacentini said the Cadets were an incredibly hard working team that were capable of “wearing other teams down,” and using it to their advantage late in the game.
With the Cadets deep depth chart, each line is capable of making big plays at any time.
“What works best for our team right now is the fact that we can roll four lines. It tires the other team out and not many teams are that deep personnel-wise,” said forward Nevin Lawler, 22, a senior business management major from Fitchburg, Mass.
Norwich’s depth has proven its worth so far with goals coming from each line. That trend has carried over into most play for the Cadets, and “it was exciting to get the first win out of the way in that fashion,” said Thieda.
Having two home games at the beginning of the season was a good way to build confidence heading into the bulk of the season. Despite blowing out their first two opponents, the Cadets knew that their biggest challenges were ahead in January. “In their conference, (Plymouth State) is not one of the top teams. They’re a lower end team compared to Plattsburgh or Babson,” said goalie Ty Reichenbach, 21, a sophomore criminal justice major from Billings, Mont.
According to goalie Braeden Ostepchuck, 21, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Lethbridge, Alberta, the defensive success the Cadets have had so far this season comes in large part from the coaching, “I think a lot of it has to do with our team system, the way that our coach wants us to play, and that people buy into his system.”
Ostepchuk got his first career start against Plymouth State, only allowing one goal while making nine saves.
While the Cadet’s defense continues to dominate opposing offenses, Piacentini has been getting work done offensively, leading the Cadets with three goals and was tied for second for assists after the first two games. Piacentini is certainly on a hot streak, doubling his career goal totals in the first two games of the season, also adding two assists for a season total of five points. He is the leading scorer o the team with four goals and two assists.
“I was surprised with a lot of the sophomores, Tyler Piacentini is having a really good year. He’s always working hard, and it’s nice to see it pay off,” said Reichenbach. “So far, really everything is working out. There’s nothing that’s going wrong.”
The Cadets hope to keep escalating their level of play, and think their more aggressive, yet conservative play style will allow for that. “We know when to attack, but we also know when to take care of our own defensive end,” said Thieda.
Winning against the University of Southern Maine 5-0 and a tough game against the University of New England 4-1 offers indications that the team is on the right track. Both games were held in Kreitzberg Arena.
The fans of Kreitzberg arena are often loudly chanting, or taunting opposing goaltenders throughout the game, making their presence be known. “When the fans are into it and behind us it makes the team plays better,” said Lawler.
Thieda agreed, saying, “We have to keep it up. As the season goes on, we will be playing tougher teams and we need to make Kreitzberg an atmosphere that teams don’t want to come to.” Key rivals coming to Northfield in the next few months include UMASS-Boston (Jan. 9), Babson (Jan. 10), and Castleton (Feb 6). The three teams are ones the Cadets thoroughly enjoy beating.
The men’s hockey players take every game seriously, but many players, including Thieda, have Castleton marked highest on their calendars. “I am calling it right now, Castleton will have 15 shots on goal and we will win 5-0. Take note,” said Thieda.

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