WIH: Colonels take another step forward in second season

Kendyl Kalish, Staff Writer

The Colonels have already outdone their inaugural season with three wins early in the year. Last season, the Colonels were 0-15-1.

Wilkes now has an overall record of 3-12-1. In the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) they are 2-7.

The Colonels have put in a lot of work during the offseason and throughout the regular season to make themselves a more competitive team.

“This season we’ve just worked really hard at practice trying to get our systems right to be better in games,” goaltender Allyson Joly said.

Earl Utter, the Colonels coach, has seen his roster grow from nine to 19 combined with the team’s hard work improve their level of play.

“I think our athletes have stepped up their compete level,” Utter said. “Also, I think, because we are so young, we have started to get used to the pace and skill level of the players in our league.”

Utter also believes that having more players has been an asset this season.

“The fact that we have more players this season has enabled us to prepare for more game like situations this year,” said Utter. “I also believe that our second year players have been a positive influence on our first years which has made our practices more competitive.”

The hard work and competitive level of the team led to the first win in program history, a 5-4 contest against Anna Maria College.

They won their second game of the season against King’s College, when they scored a goal in the last second of the game. This was the second victory for the team this season, but it was the first UCHC and Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) win for the Colonels.

They got their first road win at Alvernia University 3-0. This was also the first shutout for the program and Joly.

“It was awesome to get the first shutout against Alvernia,” Joly said. “It showed that we played a complete game.”

Following this shutout, Joly was named the UCHC North goaltender of the week. This was her second UCHC weekly award, but her first one of the 2019-2020 season.

“It meant a lot to be named goalie of the week, but I think it overall showed how hard the team played this past weekend,” Joly said.

The Colonels had another good performance on Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena, coming away from a contest with Chatham with a 1-1 tie.

“We have spent a lot of time working on our power play and penalty kill and working on our puck support,” Utter said.

For the game Saturday, the Colonels have to be on the same page to get their next win.

“We have to have all of the players on the same page,” said Utter. “We need to compete for the team and for the university, play hard, stay out of the penalty box, make the most of our scoring chances, and have a great commitment to our defensive game.”

The mindset for the team is focused as they continue to prepare themselves to the best of their ability.

“To prepare for this weekend, we will focus on what we need to do best to win while also keeping our standard as a team very high,” Joly said.

Wilkes played well on defense against Chatham on Saturday, holding them to just one goal. Joly was the best defender for the Colonels, stopping 42 shots to help her team come away with a tie.

Both teams scored their goals in the third period on the power play. Kendall Castro scored with just over four minutes left in the game to tie the game up. Abby Miller had the assist on the goal.

The Colonels also played Lebanon Valley on Sunday and will return to the ice on Friday against No. 3 Elmira at the Toyota SportsPlex.