This article can be found published on the ChesCo Hockey Haven‘s website.
WEST GOSHEN — Head coach Drew Cox couldn’t ask for a better start for his West Chester East boys hockey team.
Despite not having a regular season game since Dec. 22, the Vikings came out flying en route to an 8-1 romping of Spring-Ford in a Ches-Mont game at Ice Line Friday night.
“They stepped on the ice and took control and moved the puck and did what we were talking about,” Cox said. “They came out and did that perfectly in the first period.”
That’s not to say East (9-2 Ches-Mont, 10-2 overall) hasn’t played at all.
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They participated in the seven-team holiday tournament before the start of 2015, giving them the chance to keep the rust off, along with games for any club players.
“We play in the tournament just to keep skating and give some guys who don’t get as much time some more time,” Cox said. “We worked on a few things here and there — stuff we needed to work that we haven’t had practice time to work on it. We play in it to keep skating and stay somewhat fresh and in shape.”
But some downtime did give the players the chance to rest up their bodies, which have already gone through two and a half months of the season.
“It’s almost nice to have a little bit of a break just as a little time to heal from getting bruised up and get your energy back to get going for the second half of the season,” said East junior forward Chris Rodier.
It worked for the Vikings as it took only 32 seconds for them to score, courtesy of captain and senior forward Bill Stewart.
East tacked on five more goals in the period, three of those coming from the top-notch power play the Vikings have.
“They took some penalties and our power play was really clicking tonight,” Rodier said. “We had at least two power-play goals in the first period. We were just feeling it. Pucks were going in for us.”
All of this came from a team which switched up its lines before the game.
For some teams, the move could spell disaster, but not for the first place team in the Ches-Mont.
“We mixed up the lines a little bit today and that’s always something that gets us going,” Rodier said. “This team is really, really good chemistry-wise. Everyone gets along great and we’re just one big family. Some teams when you mix it up, it gets all whacky, but this team, we have the pleasure of being able to mix things up and still put the puck into the net.”
Rodier, who used to play on a line with Mike Roberta, now had a linemate in Eddie Russell and chemistry was instantaneous as Russell notched two goals in the game with Rodier as the primary assist on both.
Spring-Ford (2-7 Ches-Mont, 3-7 overall) was able to break through junior goaltender Joe Stacy early in the second from Ryne Moore, but it was the only goal they would get, even after East let off the gas pedal as the game wore on.
“We let up a little bit as the game went on and started being a little too cute instead of continuing to do what we do,” Cox said. “But they came out exactly the way we wanted to and got the result.”
East may be tearing up the Ches-Mont, but the players and coaches know there are still things to work on as they start the second half of the season.
“We just have to tweak and strengthen up and make sure everybody is on board with their roles on the team and how we want games to go for us,” Cox said. “Whether we’re winning, tied or losing, we want to be in control. We have a tough stretch here to finish the season. If we can get on top of it now and not dig ourselves our hole, we’ll be better for it when we get to the end.”