After defeating the fifth-ranked University of Connecticut Huskies 7-2 last Sunday, NYU Ice Hockey cemented its spot in the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament. Hosted by Northeastern University, the tournament will be held in Marlborough, Mass., from March 21 to 25.
Under head coach Chris Cosentino, the program has slowly but surely established its dominance in the league over the past four seasons, improving upon each previous season.
“Our experience, mindset and overall depth are our biggest strengths as a hockey team,” Cosentino said.
This marks the team’s first appearance in the National Tournament since 2007. The road to Nationals has not been easy, however, as the team has been faced with an onslaught of injuries to key players from the start. Despite the many setbacks, this has allowed the younger players on the team to step up. Echoing Cosentino’s sentiments, assistant captain and CAS senior Tim Gumear cites the team’s depth as part of its success.
“Know[ing] that if someone goes down with an injury and we have someone just as good to fill in for them in the short term — that saves us the mental strain that most teams experience when someone gets hurt,” Gumear said.
Having the ability to run four lines on both forward and defense sets them apart from most opponents who are only able to run two lines, which means the opposing teams are likely to burn out more quickly.
CAS sophomore and forward Henry Thomson-Smith said another key to success has been the team’s cohesiveness and chemistry in the face of adversity.
“I feel that the character in the locker room has brought our team a long way,” Thomson-Smith said.
The players have managed to turn the obstacle of injures into a learning experience.
“They have been able to create great chemistry throughout the team, which is something that I feel will be valuable in the postseason,” Cosentino said.
Cosentino’s ultimate goal is to bring NCAA hockey to NYU and New York City. After finishing the regular season with an 18-4-2 record and ranking number four in the Northeast region, as well as going 11-2-1 in the Super East Collegiate Hockey League and ranking number two, it looks like the program is well on its way.
In addition to a national presence, NYU Ice Hockey is making itself known around campus. One of the highlights this season for Gumear has been the newfound support of NYU students.
“Throughout my entire career here at NYU, I have never seen so many fans as we have had on a nightly basis,” Gumear said. “It’s great to see people take the effort to get to the rink to cheer us on day in and day out. Creating that presence in the NYU Community has truly made me proud to be on this team.”
NYU has been seeded in Pool A with Lindenwood and Utah State, as well as Florida Gulf Coast, who is ranked #1 in the Southeast division and the team’s first opponent in the tournament.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Feb. 27 print edition. Brittany Yu is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com