Men’s hockey freshmen make their presence known
Learning how to be a NCAA Division I student-athlete is no easy task but the Robert Morris University NCAA men’s hockey freshmen have found a way to make it work and contribute to the team.
“I think as a group they’ve really figured out how to be Division I hockey players,” said head coach Derek Schooley. “I think they started off a little slow, but for the most part the group has really jelled and really come together and were a big part of our team’s eight-game unbeaten streak.”
Senior captain, Trevor Lewis, is also impressed with the effort from the freshmen class. “All of our freshmen have done a great job. We knew coming into this season that we were searching for extra offense and they have been incredible with how quickly, and how much, they have attributed to our team,” said Lewis. “They are all major, and important, parts of our lineup which you don’t see very often.”
Now in their second semester as NCAA student-athletes, the freshmen finally feel like they have adjusted to playing hockey and being back in school.
“At the beginning of the year it was kind of a struggle just to get used to the play with faster speed and bigger kids and everything. Now since we’re in the middle of the year everything is better and the adjustment has gotten a lot better,” explained freshman forward, Cody Wydo. “The biggest adjustment has probably been going back to school and trying to fit that back into my schedule. I’ve been out of school for two years, so getting used to school and hockey again was a big adjustment.”
“Basically the start of the year was more of an adjustment phase for myself and just trying to work myself into the lineup and now that we’ve had success with certain players we’ve been a lot better and putting up some numbers so it’s been good,” said freshman forward, Scott Jacklin.
Freshman defenseman, Tyson Wilson also agreed that getting readjusted to being in school and playing hockey again has been a bit of a challenge.
“I think I started off a little bit slow but I’ve progressed as the seasons went on and the coaches have taught me a lot and hopefully I can continue to progress here and help the team out,” said Wilson.
Coach Schooley had nothing but good things to say when asked about all six freshmen.
“Every one of them has contributed in a very positive way to our hockey team,” said Schooley.
Luckily for the freshmen, they have a group of 10 seniors to look up to and get advice from.
“They have really good work ethics. This is their fourth year here now, so they know what to do and if we just follow them and do what they do, we’ll be fine,” said Wydo.
Jacklin agreed with Wydo saying, “They know how to win at this level so we’ve just been trying to follow in their footsteps and I think it’s been working out lately for sure.”
While all 10 seniors are role models for the younger players, Wilson said he specifically looks up to one person in particular. “I’d probably say I look up to Trevor Lewis. He’s just an all-around good guy and he has good spirits all of the time,” said Wilson. “He’s always positive and he always gives you help whenever you need it.”
Schooley also believes that the patience of the freshmen and learning how to play at this level has rewarded them thus far and will continue to reward them in the long run.
“It’s not easy for anyone to just step in and play Division I hockey, and although you think it’s easy, it’s not. They’ve figured it out and they’ve done a great job so far.”
According to Schooley:
Cody Wydo has got the ability to be scoring goals and he has been doing so.
Scott Jacklin is a very good offensive player and contributes that way.
Jeff Jones who we believe is going to score a lot here in college hockey and is really figuring out how to play and has contributed.
Cody Cartier is a very good two-way forward and he’s been a guy that we’ve counted on in key defensive situations as well
David Rigatti has been a player that’s gone back and forth from forward to defense to forward to defense and has done whatever we’ve asked him.
Tyson Wilson was very highly recruited and we were lucky to get him and he’s a very good skater who has good puck skills and has contributed offensively to our power play and really figured out how to play the game at the defensive level as well.