MEN’S—The Wesleyan men’s ice hockey team is headed into the postseason. They are the fifth seed in this year’s NESCAC tournament.
Coming off a weekend split against Trinity, the top seed in the NESCAC, the Cardinals are ready to win a championship. This past weekend posted Wesleyan’s best win of the season, which is a great sign as they head into the postseason.
The Cardinals are confident about where they are as a team.
“Through the ups and downs this year, our team has developed a lot of confidence,” said forward Dylan Holze ’18. “Everyone has been forced to play bigger roles with the injuries we have had, and everyone elevated their game due to that. As a team, we feel like we are playing our best hockey from top to bottom at the right time.”
“We see ourselves as top dog for sure,” added forward Walker Harris ’20. “We know we can beat any team in tourney on any night and we’re excited for next Saturday.”
In addition, the team attributes a lot of their success to their individual relationships, both on and off the ice.
“My favorite thing about this team is the friendships we have off the ice,” said Harris. “We’re all very close and have established relationships that will last long after our time at Wes.”
Back on the ice, the team has high praises for sophomore goalie Tim Sestak who has posted impressive numbers the past few games.
“In the game against Trinity, he played an unbelievable game in net, making a few big saves early on, and we all rallied around him,” Holze said. “That win was big for us. It was a great experience for us to win in that type of atmosphere.”
Good luck to the men as they will take on Hamilton in Clinton, N.Y. this upcoming weekend in the NESCAC tournament.
WOMEN’S—The Wesleyan women’s ice hockey team made the NESCAC tournament this past weekend with a win over Little Three rival Amherst. The Cardinals will be the eighth seed and will play top-seeded Middlebury in the tournament next weekend.
“Obviously, Middlebury is a great team, but I think as a team we know what to expect coming in with their style of play and intensity,” said sophomore forward Allie Damren. “I think the biggest thing for us is to put everything we have on the line and play like those 60 minutes could be our last. We were put in this same situation last year playing Middlebury for the quarterfinals, and the team knows how much that loss stung.”
The Birds have found themselves in a few different positions this season. There have been many valuable lessons learned through the ups and downs.
“I think that we improved a lot over the course of the season and that this past weekend went especially well in terms of putting a full game together and playing as a cohesive unit,” said sophomore goalie Allegra Grant. “I think that we just need to keep that going and keep focusing on the next shift and the next period and controlling what we can control.”
The Red and Black are rallying behind a big win at home against Amherst this past weekend during
their annual Pink in the Rink night, a fundraising campaign for breast cancer awareness.
“We’re coming off a really strong win against Amherst, and even though we didn’t win the second game we played a great three periods,” Grant said. “I think that we just need to keep playing how we have been, and we’ll be able to compete on Saturday.”
The team’s morale is at an all-time high just in time for the postseason.
“I’ve made some of my best friends from this team that I know I will still be just as close with ten, twenty, thirty years down the road,” Damren said. “We all come into the rink and gym every practice, every game, and every lift with the drive to push ourselves and each other to our limits. Coming into the rink knowing everyone is giving it their all and someone is always there to crack a joke makes a long season so enjoyable.”
The Cardinals will face Middlebury in the tournament matchup this Saturday, Feb. 24.
Ben Owen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.