By Beth Casteel
The Cleveland State club hockey team is looking to end their season on a high note after defeating the University of Akron Zips twice this past weekend.
On Friday, Jan. 19, the Vikings took to the ice at Quicken Loans Arena to face Akron in a game that started off in favor of the Zips. After scoring four goals in the first period, the Zips were gunning for the win.
It wasn’t until the third quarter when things started to take off for the Vikings. The rally came in the form of three goals scored back-to-back, tying up the game at the start of the quarter. Once the final buzzer rang, the Vikings defeated the Zips and left the arena with a 7-5 victory.
“[That game] was probably the best period of hockey I’ve watched since I’ve been coaching,” Vikings head coach, Craig Patton, said. “It was easy for us to quit, we were down by three goals, it was easy to just fold and chalk it up as a loss and move on, but we didn’t.”
It was the will to win that enabled the Vikings to claim victory, not only in their first game against Akron, but in their second one as well. On Saturday, Jan. 20, the Vikings defeated Akron again, this time with a score of 7-2.
Currently, with a 6-10 record, and with such success these past couple of games, the Vikings are optimistic that their final games of the season will garner similar results. For both Brendan McCann, the president of the club, and Jake Uhas, the captain of the team, the goal is to the finish out the season with a few more wins to gain momentum heading into next season.
After struggling at the beginning of the season, both McCann and Uhas recognized some of the things that they needed to work on. One of the main things was being smarter on the ice. Both McCann and Uhas said that the more they develop together as a team, the more successful they will be.
In order to do so, both McCann and Uhas have taken more of a leadership role this season in order to help some of the more inexperienced players. Wanting to set a good example for the incoming freshmen and sophomores, McCann and Uhas have focused on team development and creating a rapport between teammates.
“We have a lot of incoming young guys so it’s been a lot of fun to play with them and watch them grow,” Uhas said. “As the season has gone on, they’ve progressed and we’ve just gotten better as a whole team because of it.”
Building a closer relationship with the school and the city is also something that the team has been working on this season. Being a club team, they are mostly student-run so they don’t have the biggest following around campus.
Helping with a youth hockey team, fundraising and charity work are just a few of the things the guys have done in order to be more involved with the community. By getting more involved, Patton hopes that a stronger relationship will form and maybe inspire some students to participate more with the team.
“Our biggest thing right now is we want to put a nice product on the ice but on the other hand, we want to involve the school as much as possible because that’s what makes it fun for these guys. They want to play for their classmates,” Patton said. “[College is] different than being in high school where you see everyone in the hallway the next day. You don’t always get that in college, so to have them do that I think would be a good thing for the school and the hockey team.”