BOARDMAN, OHIO (Tuesday, October 16, 2007) - The Youngstown State University Hockey team fell to 1-3-2 on the season, after losing two games over weekend.
With a depleted roster, the Penguins opened Friday night at the Ice Zone against #25 Duquesne. Despite keeping the score close until late in the game, YSU fell 6-3.
"The injury bug is getting at us a little bit, and so we were short guys," said Penguins head coach Rocky Russo. "We are doing what we can to get through the period of time where we are hurt. So, it's a pretty tough situation right now."
Saturday night, the Penguins came out flat on the road at #16 Robert Morris University, going down 4-0 early, before eventually falling 8-2.
"RMU exploited us right away on the Olympic surface and popped four quick goals. We battled back and played a great second-half, but they had obviously built up a big enough lead that it was just too much to come back from."
With three games this week, including a home game against Washington & Jefferson on Wednesday night, the team is focusing their practices on special teams.
"We spent yesterday working on the penalty kill," said Russo about his preparations for the week. "Today we're really going to stress the power play. We haven't been capitalizing on those opportunities - hopefully tomorrow we'll reap the benefits of it."
Additionally, the Penguins are playing Friday night at Slippery Rock University and Saturday night at Mercyhurst.
"W&J and Slippery Rock are both league games, and we want to get that first league victory under our belt," says Russo. "Mercyhurst is always a challenge. They are generally a top-20 team, and they play a real competitive schedule. Everyone is going to give us a real good game."
With team captain Mike Poljak out of the line-up due to concussion, it has been up to some of the other players to keep attitudes positive in the locker room.
"The leadership is doing a real good job of keeping everyone together," Russo says. "Poljak has been around, but Zac Kusek and Naaman Moorman have really stepped up from a leadership standpoint. They're really doing everything they can to keep the ship afloat until we get everybody healthy again."
The puck drops Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. as the Penguins battle the Presidents at the Ice Zone in Boardman. The Youngstown State University Hockey Team is based out of the Ice Zone and is sponsored by the B.J. Alan Company - Phantoms Fireworks, located in Youngstown, Ohio.