The Crimson White

Alabama hockey ready to take next step

Robert Sutton

Robert Sutton

RJ Nealon, Staff Writer

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Down South, hockey doesn’t typically take precedent in the fall and winter months, but don’t tell that to the University of Alabama club hockey team. The team is preparing to start the 2018 season, and it has high expectations after finishing 23-9 last season.

“Expectations for the season are to finally make it to a Division I national tournament,” said Jack Rooney, a senior advertising major minoring in psychology. “We had a good season last year but fell just short of our set goals. With new additions to the roster and an even more focused team attitude, we will be sure to do so.”

Last season, Rooney played in 30 games, recording 14 goals, 19 assists and 31 points. He is the team captain for the upcoming season.

Thomas Godfrey, a finance major who is expected to graduate in 2019, is the team’s president and is enthusiastic about what is in store for the upcoming season.

“Compared to last year we’re just trying to build on our team’s success from last year,” Godfrey said. “We had a good team last year, and I think we’re a little better this year, a lot quicker in the back and we have three solid goaltenders, so we’re looking forward to this year.”

Last season, Godfrey played in 25 games, posting one goal, five assists, and six points.

Alabama has proven to be a dominant team when playing at home in the Pelham Civic Complex, which is roughly an hour away from Tuscaloosa. Godfrey says Alabama wants to continue building its home-rink advantage.

“I don’t think we lost a single home game last year, and we’re facing better teams this year so it should be a good challenge,” Godfrey said.

Every year teams in any sport lose players to graduation, which allows young players to step up and fill empty roles. Alabama will need its young players to make a name for themselves this season.

“I think we have a good senior group, and then these young guys can make an impact right away, but it’s important as older guys to teach them about the culture we are trying to create and just how we do things everyday like how to be an athlete and a hockey player for us,” Godfrey said.

Alabama does need to replace some players that it lost, but for the most part, the team is returning its key contributors, including top defenders and several All-Americans. Godfrey expects Alabama’s returning players to provide strong leadership to the incoming freshman.

“Taylor Joseph is one of our top defensive guys, and Nick Messina had a great freshman year, so he’s going to be huge,” Godfrey said. “Defensively we have Pierre Ouellette whose an All-American defenseman for us, and he’s one of the leaders on our team, so he’s going to have a huge impact. We do have some new guys that are going to make an impact and make some noise as well.”

Taylor Joseph played in 28 games, recording 15 goals, 12 assists and 27 points. Nick Messina played in 29 games, posting 13 goals, 14 assists and 27 points. Pierre Ouellette played in 30 games, and scored six goals, 11 assists and 17 points.

Alabama opens the season against Auburn, and just like in football or any other sport, it’s a fierce rivalry with bragging rights on the line.

“My goals for the first game against Auburn are to continue our undefeated record against them,” Rooney said. “I would like the new players to understand the tradition of Alabama vs. Auburn. I would like for the team to put on a show for our fans that are anxious for the season to start.”

Alabama opens the season against Auburn Sept. 7 at the Pelham Civic Complex in Pelham, Alabama. The puck drop is at 7 p.m.

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Alabama hockey ready to take next step