Cadet’s hockey will kick off new year with a tournament featuring unfamiliar opponents

The Norwich Men’s Hockey team will be taking on some top-ranked teams to kick off the new year in the Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament this January.

“Its fun to bring in different teams and play someone different,” said head coach Mike McShane.

The two-day tournament Jan. 2-3 features Norwich, Trinity College, Manhattanville, and Wesleyan. Trinity is number three in their league and could cause some trouble for the cadets, but their coach said they’ll prepare like always. “We just focus on the job at hand,” said McShane. “If you get too far ahead of yourself you end up getting it handed to you.”

The cadets will be coming off a week and a half break for Christmas before the tournament, when the players will have to skate on their own, noted McShane. But he said the time off would be helpful.

“The break in my opinion will be needed,” said McShane. “The boys have been working hard since the beginning of the school year and they’ll be getting some much needed rest.”

Players are feeling positive about the tournament after a rough December. The team enters the break with an 8-4 record. “The boys are fired up,” said co-captain Austin Surowiec, a junior forward and accounting major from Louisville, Ky. “Everyone is a competitor and we all love a challenge.”

The cadets have had some tough losses, according to Surowiec, with a three-game losing streak that included two overtime losses to Plattsburgh State and Umass-Boston and a 5-1 loss to arch rival Babson. They finished the semester by whipping St. Michael’s 7-2, their highest goal total of the season.

Being prepared for the task at hand will be extremely important. “We have to bring our best game each night,” said Surowiec. “If we don’t, well, you’ve seen what can happen.”

The Cadets are very excited to play top-ranked Trinity, according to Surowiec. “We are hungry for Trinity,” said Surowiec. “We are looking to humble them.”

The cadets are hoping to win the tournament and their league and eventually go to the nationals, according to Andrew Sullivan, 20, a sophomore communications major and defenseman from Chelmsford, Mass.

“The team’s goals are to continue moving forward and making strides in the right direction,” said Sullivan. “We want to win the tournament and bring the trophy home, but no matter what the outcome we to move forward as a team.”

Sullivan said Division III hockey iss so competitive that the cadets can’t take any team lightly. “We have dealt with plenty of adversity in injuries and tough games, as well as a couple of tough losses,” said Braeden Ostepchuk, 22, a sophomore goaltender and mechanical engineering major from Lethbridge, Alberta. “We have a lot of character on the team and guys are always willing to work harder and harder to be more successful and find ways to win.”

Preparation for the unfamiliar teams won’t be any different then a normal game. The cadets will watch film and go over skills that will be needed, according to Ostepchuk. “We like to put more emphasis on what we need to do more than any one player from the other team,” said McShane.

“Around the net, finishing, our checking could always get better, and working with each other as a unit and communicating.”

The tourney begins Jan. 2 when Norwich will face Wesleyan at 7 p.m. while Manhattanville meets defending NCAA Division III national champion Trinity at 4 p.m. in the other matchup.

“If we put in 100 percent for 60 minutes, we have a great opportunity to win every game we play,” said Ostepchuk.

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