DePaul hockey closed out by Indiana in opening weekend

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DePaul hockey closed out by Indiana in opening weekend

DePaul club hockey goalie Rodolfo Hodgson Jr. makes a save during the game on Friday at Johnny’s Ice House West.

DePaul club hockey goalie Rodolfo Hodgson Jr. makes a save during the game on Friday at Johnny’s Ice House West.

Ryan Gilroy / The DePaulia

DePaul club hockey goalie Rodolfo Hodgson Jr. makes a save during the game on Friday at Johnny’s Ice House West.

Ryan Gilroy / The DePaulia

Ryan Gilroy / The DePaulia

DePaul club hockey goalie Rodolfo Hodgson Jr. makes a save during the game on Friday at Johnny’s Ice House West.

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DePaul’s ice hockey team skated away after two heartbreaking losses during their opening weekend on Friday and Saturday.

For both games, the Blue Demons faced off against Indiana University. Friday night featured the teams long awaited season-opener at Johnny’s Ice House West on Madison Street with the game ending in a hard-hitting 6-4 loss. Shots on goal were virtually identical where Indiana lead by a single shot, 43-42

“We weren’t clicking for the first part of the game, and once our system started to click, we started putting points on the board,” captain and defenseman Ryan Hasty said. “We need to have tape to tape passes and get pucks deep.”

Saturday afternoon’s matchup featured a more fast-paced game where the Blue Demons led the scoring 2-1 after the first period. While Indiana rallied back and scored three unanswered goals in the second period, the teams found themselves tied at 5-5 after regulation. A five minute overtime period was not enough, so a shootout was needed. Indiana secured the shootout and the game 6-5.

“I was really proud of our team’s fight,” forward Jackson Leptich said. “I don’t think we’re coming out slow; we need to play more hungry.”

Ryan Gilroy / The DePaulia
DePaul club hockey defender John Bolger looks on as he skates towards the bench during the Blue Demons’ game against Indiana on Friday.

For the team, they are continuing to move forward and look ahead while dealing with a few changes in the offseason. After the 2018-19 season ended, head coach Jerry Fronek resigned. He led the team to a total of 219 wins, eight regional tournament appearances and one national tournament appearance.

Three quick goals in the second period was not enough to keep the Blue Demons all the way down. It was a quick wake up call for the team.

“When you let up a lot of goals in one period, you just have to forget what’s going on and stay in the present,” goaltender Alex Grzbek said. “For me in particular, I like to clear my mind and pay attention to what’s coming.”

In March, the team announced that Danny Randall will take over as Head Coach for DePaul. Randall hails from Boston, Massachusetts and played as a goalie for the University of Iowa. In 2014, he served as the assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach for the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs for one season. He continued with his coaching career at Lewis University for the next four seasons until the end of the 2018-19 season, serving as their head coach.

The team also added Carla Pentimone as the Blue Demons’ Assistant Coach. Pentimone is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she played Division 1 hockey for the Badgers. During her time with the team, she won two national championships, received All-WCHA Academic Team honors and was a WCHA Scholar Athlete during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.

“I think the team has excellent potential and I’m excited to see what’s in store,” Grzbek said.

DePaul’s next pair of games will take place on Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28 in Madison, Wisconsin against University of Wisconsin. The team will be back in Chicago during the first week of October For a pair of games against the University of Illinois on Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5 at Johnny’s Ice House West.