UB D-I club hockey (9-16-2, 3-5 NECHL) suffered a senior-night loss to Canisius (10-11-1, 5-6 NECHL) Saturday at the Northtown Center in Amherst.
Before the game, the team honored its lone senior, Timothy Allen, who was joined on the ice by his parents, sister and girlfriend. Allen shared his favorite memories of “road trips and long nights with the boys” and thanked his family for “sitting at the rink for hours to watch me play.”
“It’s a family. We all grew so close, we’re all together every week. You can’t even put it into words honestly,” Allen told The Spectrum after the game. “It’s so emotional when you have to go and finally realize that you are done.”
“He brings a lot of heart to the locker room,” Allen’s close friend and roommate, sophomore captain Anthony Coty, said. “He is an older guy, so we all look up to him and we are really going to miss him.”
Allen was the only senior on a UB team with a dozen freshmen. He and graduate defenseman Ryan Edwards were among the most experienced players on the team. The departure of the team’s older players signals a “culture change,” according to head coach Morgan VonHedemann.
VonHedemann has played or coached at UB for the better part of a decade, and he’s seen dozens of players come and go.
“It’s gone from guys I used to play with into the new group of guys, so it’s going to be a bit of a culture change,” VonHedemann said. “We need to create new veterans, [while] our veterans are slowly leaving us.”
But VonHedemann says he’s confident his younger players will step up in coming seasons.
“There’s a saying, it’s very simply put: leaders lead,” he said. “It’s nice to see [younger] guys starting to come out of their shells and lead by example.” In the game itself, scoring didn’t come easy at first, as both sophomore goaltender Anthony LoRe and Canisius goaltender Charles Drolet held the scoring down. The game was knotted up 0-0 after the end of the first period, despite both teams having short-handed breakaways.
The flood gates opened up as Canisius found the back of the net first, scoring on a powerplay 1:21 into the second period.
UB was able to bring the score back to even after Coty snuck the puck past Drolet on a breakaway opportunity set up by sophomore forward Jack Gallagher, who assisted the play.
But that was the only time the Bulls managed to score, as they struggled to generate any more opportunities. Canisius rattled off five unanswered goals before freshman goaltender Colin McDermott came in to relieve LoRe. The Bulls were only able to muster 16 shots on goal to the Golden Griffins’ 44.
Regardless of the loss, spirits remained high after the game as UB celebrated its final home game of the season. Players and their families gathered upstairs in the rink for food and drinks.
Allen’s teammates joked with him that he should return to UB as he looks to continue his education and become a history teacher. Allen said he wouldn’t rule out another season in the blue and white.
“I don’t really have a plan just yet,” Allen said. “I know I am going back for teaching, but I don’t know where just yet, so maybe you’ll see me again.”
While the UB D-I American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) team wrapped up the season at home, the D-II Collegiate Hockey Federation (CHF) club did the same, honoring their 11 seniors one rink away.
Defensemen Jared Marder and Josh Abbot, forwards Matthew Cohen, Cameron Bass, Jaret Pawarski, Shane Tyrie, Matt Tullo, Noah Sobko, Andrew Daddario, and goaltender Ryan O’Donnell were all recognized before the team’s 7-4 win over Brockport.
With the loss to Canisius, the D-I hockey club dropped below the Golden Griffins to fourth out of six teams in the Northeast Collegiate Hockey League [NECHL]. All six teams make the postseason, and the top two seeds (RIT and Oswego State) receive byes in the single elimination tournament.
UB now prepares for its last regular season matchups at Rutgers Friday night at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The club looks to get back on track before the NECHL playoffs, hosted by Rutgers and the College of New Jersey, in two weeks.
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