UNCW club hockey preps for season’s first road trip

Brian Carpenter, Contributing Writer

The UNC Wilmington Club Hockey team will travel to Liberty University this weekend for their lone multigame road trip of the season.

It will be UNCW’s first game since Sept. 30, when it defeated the University of South Carolina by a score of 5-2. UNCW heads into this game with a 4-1 record on the season, outscoring its opponents 34-19.

“We have had a few weeks off which has been both good and bad,” says forward John Cooperrider. “It’s good for practicing and working on things but the gameplay is also important to see how you are doing in the games and to measure yourself.”

Liberty will be the Seahawks’ two most important games this season in terms of ranking in the Division III standings. This will be the first season that rankings will be released in Division III by the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Rankings are scheduled to be released on Nov. 8.

Leadership has played a major role in the team’s success so far, led by captain Tyler Evangelous and assistant captains Will Tooke and Bennett Clark. Evangelous and Clark have been on the team for multiple years and have developed a strong relationship together says forward Ben Cooperrider.

“Tyler and Bennett know the game, they know the league and they know our opponents so they have a lot of insight as far as who we are going to be playing, who to look for, who to play hard against and who can really bring it,” says Cooperrider. “Will Tooke is also a new assistant captain as a freshman which is good for the team coming up next year so we have a captain that has been around that scene.”

The team is led by top-scorer Joey Alexander, who leads the team in scoring with 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists), in five games. Alexander credits his linemates for being in the right positions to where he can get them the puck and they can put the puck in the net.

“I have always considered myself a pass-first type player and have been my whole life,” says Alexander. “Our power play has been struggling but in these three weeks of practice, we have been working on that and it has gotten a lot better. We changed the way we run it and it works a lot more,”

Follow the team on their social media accounts on Twitter, @UNCWHockey and their Facebook page, UNCW Club Ice Hockey. Game updates and news will be posted on these pages about the team. A link to the game will be made available for fans to stream the game via the team’s Facebook page at some point on Friday.

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