The men’s ice hockey team went on the road this past weekend to play Drexel and Bucknell on Feb. 8 and 10, losing both contests. After a week of battling norovirus, which trickled throughout the Lafayette community, the team put their best skate forward for the pair of challenging games.
“We came into practice last week just trying to get bodies there,” junior Harrison Lapides said. “It was obviously a tough week for everyone, we were down multiple guys throughout the week and down two guys for the games.”
On Friday night, the team travelled to Philadelphia to face Drexel. Despite a good effort, the team struggled to put the puck in the back of the net, ultimately falling to the Dragons 5-1.
“We knew it was going to be a tough one,” Lapides said. “The games are long and it’s tough to keep up in the league when you’re down. We came out, gave it our all, and played a solid game. It was a closer game than what the score showed.”
According to Lapides, the team was winning battles and anticipating well throughout the game, and freshman goalie Jack Eselius and senior Simon Rybansky had strong performances for the Leopards.
“We’ve been working on really battling in front of the net, fighting for loose pucks, finishing our checks and shifts, and playing all the way through,” Lapides said.
On Sunday, the Bucknell Bison hosted the Leopards in Lewisburg, Pa. According to Lapides, the team had both more confidence and healthy players going into their second game of the weekend.
“They have some big guys, and they have a good first line,” Lapides said. “We came in feeling pretty prepared, we knew what we were up against.”
The Leopards started off strong, keeping the game close for the first period with the score tied at two and then took a one goal lead in the second period. The Bison battled back in the end, coming out on top with a final score of six to three.
“There were a couple of little things we should have done better,” Lapides said. “We should have been tougher on the puck and finished some chances we had, but overall it was a good game.”
This weekend, the Leopards head into their games against Penn State Harrisburg and Susquehanna with a record of 7-7. This weekend will conclude the regular season and will determine the teams’ seeding in the playoffs. There will be a bus to shuttle fans to and from their home game on Saturday against Susquehanna. The bus will pick students up from behind Kirby Sports Center at 4:30 p.m.
“The competition definitely heats up in the second half of the season,” said Lapides. “We know they’re going to bring a tough game, but we’ve beaten both teams already and we’re confident. We’re focusing on being mentally there and handling the little things.”
After winning the championship last year, Lapides said the team is looking to reclaim the title.
“Last year, coming home on Sunday with the title was a great feeling,” he said. “We’re hoping to continue the legacy.”