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February 8, 2012

RMU looking to capitalize on chances

Approximately one week ago, men's hockey head coach Derek Schooley expressed his concern that his team wasn't producing on a consistent level in the offensive department. Decked out in new alternate sweaters on Friday evening against Canisius, the Colonials put six on the board, en route to a two goal victory against the Golden Griffins.

In the second half of a home and home just 24 hours later, that offensive outburst dwindled back down to just one, not good enough to overcome a one goal deficit that ended with a loss in Buffalo.

The Colonials still came away with two points of a possible four over the weekend. Frustrating? Sure, but certainly not one of disastrous proportions. The group as a whole is fully aware that they are getting chances, and it's only a matter of time before the bounces start working in RMU's favor.

"It's not from a lack of chances which is a good thing," senior captain Trevor Lewis said. "For whatever reason, we're failing to execute consistently and that's definitely one of the things we have to get taken care of before we go onto the playoffs. We can't be scoring six goals and only one goal the next night."

The Colonials are well aware that they have in fact been getting chances. They accounted for 13 of the final 14 shots on Saturday, and struck iron on a couple of occasions throughout the contest.

"I'd be more concerned if we weren't getting chances," Schooley said. "We had a lot of glorious chances and we just didn't put the puck in the net."

Junior goaltender Eric Levine spoke on the fact that a certain word when used to describe a hockey club isn't necessarily an ideal situation.

"I think anytime you mention inconsistency with a hockey team, it doesn't really strike well," said the Wheeling, Illinois native. "It's unfortunate because we have the talent to score a lot of goals and we did Friday. It wasn't for a lack of effort on Saturday; it wasn't for a lack of chances. We had our chances."

Players such as Zach Hervato, Jeff Jones and Tom Brooks were able to find the back of the net on Friday, as well as offensive minded forwards Adam Brace and Nick Chiavetta, who had two markers. It was the 100th victory since the program's inception in 2004, and the team did it in style, sporting those freshly stitched sweaters that had arrived just hours before face-off.

"They were a surprise," Levine said with a grin. "We didn't even know that we were getting new jerseys. They're nice. They were lighter, they had the strings on them, and they're definitely better than the silver ones we had my freshman year."

The luck of the new sweaters didn't wear off into Saturday night, but Schooley was optimistic when speaking of the effort in the loss.

"We're getting our chances," Schooley said. "We're creating chances, we're creating a lot of energy but we're just not finishing around the net."

As with any sport, those chances are likely to be converted on in time, and the Colonials would welcome the change sooner rather than later.

"We take the effort, take the chances we had, and I think if we put those kind of pucks on net, we're going to get some goals," Levine said. "We're not too worried about it."

Make no mistake about it. This is a confident hockey club that calls the Clearview Arena home. That confidence is bound to find its way out during the final six contests of the season. Perhaps those sweaters will be making another appearance or two for an extra boost.

As the grammatically incorrect, but appropriate puck saying goes, look good, feel good, play good.

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