by PJ Dumnich
After winning the National Collegiate Hockey Association National Championship for the 2013-2014 season, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Club Ice Hockey Team began the 2014-2015 season with expectations to repeat. No matter the sport, winning a national championship is not an easy feat, and it is even more difficult to complete this tall task two years in a row. Despite the challenge, it seems as if no team is as prepared to do so as the Bobcats.
With hopes of setting a positive tone for their quest to repeat, the Bobcats had their first game against their rivals, the California University of Pennsylvania (CALU) Vulcans on October 3rd, 2014. CALU has consistently proved to be a worthy opponent in years past, so the Bobcats knew to expect a hard-fought game. Lead by senior goal tender #26 Ryan Palonis, with goals from veterans #24 Dan Merz, #8 Nico Vecchio, and #9 Anthony Maroadi (3), the Pitt-Greensburg Bobcats defeated the Vulcans 7-6 in an overtime thriller to start their season off with a record of 1-0.
The following night, October 4th, 2014, the Bobcats took their talents all the way to Cleveland, Ohio, to face the Case Western Reserve University Spartans. Led by goals from #8 Nico Vecchio (3), #24 Dan Merz (3), #6 Dan DeMarchi, and strong overall play from the rest of the team, the Bobcats defeated the Spartans. Freshman goal tender #30 Thomas Clark was able to get his first win in his first collegiate start to help his team get to a 2-0 record.
After the first two games of the season, it seems as if the Bobcats have what it takes to have a successful season, and possibly even keep their title as national champions. According to team President, Billy Lesnak, “There is no reason that this team should not repeat. It will take everyone, from the players, to the coaching staff, to the fans and volunteers. But it is something that is achievable.”
Everything will have to go their way, but a repeat is attainable for these 2014-2015 Bobcats. Veterans will need to set the tone, and the new faces will need to prove their worth to the team. While it is still early in the season, it seems as if the team has not missed a beat with their new, younger players filling in for the departed players’ roles.
According to Lesnak, the “five first year players fit in perfectly with the team and meshed well with their new lines. They seemed to have stepped up into leadership roles already, and they represent everything that we hope to be as a Bobcats.”
Contributions from every player will be essential if the Bobcats hope to once again become the National Champions of the D3 Club Ice Hockey division.