Rider outmuscled in 3-1 loss to rival Rowan

By Jake Tiger

Last season, each installment of the hot-blooded Rider-Rowan rivalry was must-see hockey.

In the 2021-22 season, Rider club ice hockey took on the Rowan Profs three times, squeaking out two hard-fought wins in the regular season before knocking Rowan out of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey (MACH) playoffs with a climactic 5-4 victory.

On their Alumni Night, the Broncs went into the Oct. 28 matchup with Rowan hoping to repeat their prior performances, but instead, they were flat and stagnant, resulting in a disappointing 3-1 defeat.

“I’m frustrated, and I’m bummed out because of how important the game was and we didn’t really put our best foot forward,” said Head Coach Sean Levin. “We were on our heels for… a good portion of the game, especially early on.”

The puck dropped and Rider got off to an unusually sluggish start, not at all matching the ferociousness of Rowan.

Senior defenseman Eddie Coyne said, “Our team’s overall intensity and physicality has to get better. We let Rowan come into our house and push us around. It absolutely did improve throughout the game and we plan on being a different team when we visit them next month.”

The disparity in energy led to poor shot selection by the Broncs, often settling for low-percentage shots rather than working the puck around for a better opportunity.

“I think we were settling early on,” said Levin. “Guys were getting a little too cute and shooting from spots where they are thinking it’s open, but they’re not.”

While Rider struggled to find its rhythm, Rowan played a sound and methodical brand of offense. The Profs simply swung the puck around until the goal presented itself, striking first in the opening period by sending the puck through the legs of sophomore goalie Trevor Giwerowski.

A Rowan player scooped up a loose puck at center ice and went gliding toward the goal with just Giwerowski in his way. The attacker went right up to

Giweroski, and quickly skated from one side of the goal to the other, tucking the puck into the net just around the left skate of Giwerowski to put Rider in a 2-0 hole.

The Broncs were visibly deflated afterward, the goal being a summation of their sloppy showing.

Rider got on the board in the third period after a stray shot by Coyne deflected off the skate of junior forward Mark McDermitt and went into the net, but Rowan responded not long after to go up 3-1.

As the final minutes of the third period ticked away, Rider was suddenly given a jolt of hope. A major penalty on Rowan gifted the Broncs a five-minute power play and a chance at a miraculous comeback.

Levin also pulled Giwerowski from goal in favor of an extra threat on offense, but despite the two-man advantage, nothing was going for the Broncs.

“We had some zone time with the six-on-four, but we weren’t good enough. Not good enough,” said Levin. “We were settling for bad shots, we were trying to make the cute play rather than the more productive play.”

Most of Rider’s desperate attempts either ended up in the chest of the Profs goalie or were rebounded by Rowan and subsequently punted to the other end of the rink to stall the power play.

Minutes turned into seconds, and seconds turned into an ugly, fourth consecutive loss for the Broncs at the hands of one of their biggest rivals. Now, they have to wait until Dec. 10 for another shot at the Profs.

“Our slow start offensively was just the way of the game and a result of some player injuries. When it becomes a pattern is when it can be a concern,” said Coyne. “I am confident that we will come out hungrier this Friday for our home game against Marist.”

In the meantime, the 3-6 Broncs look to put an end to their slide on Nov. 4, taking on Marist at home. The game will be streamed on Twitch.

“We have a lot of guys that need to look internally and be better themselves and be a better team next week,” said Levin.

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