Calvin’s hockey team kicks off season

File photo.
File photo.

Calvin’s hockey team played its first two games of the season last weekend against the Ferris State Bulldogs.

“The atmosphere gets really intense from the beginning,” forward Ryan Betts said. “It’s overwhelming at first. We have no hard feelings towards anyone on the other team, but it gets personal at times when you’re playing the game.”

The first game, played on Friday night, was a close game overall and the teams were evenly matched. The Bulldogs won 3-2. On Saturday afternoon, the Knights fought back and won 6-4.

Forward Cameron Bell scored both of Calvin’s goals on Friday night, assisted by forward Ryan Racanelli and later by forward Jared Coulter. At Saturday’s game, Bell and Racanelli scored goals again, along with forwards Brent Harris and Zac Olin. These goals were assisted by Bell, Racanelli, Harris, forwards Jordan Duncan and Josh Auyer and defenseman Austin Kath.

Reflecting on the weekend’s games, Betts feels they have room to improve.

“We felt like we played well, but we definitely made mistakes,” Betts said. “It’s the beginning of the year, and we got to figure out how to win. There’s a lot of things to work on.”

Calvin’s coach Michael Petrusma appreciated the way the season started.

“We had terrific student fan support last weekend and it really pays off for creating a home ice advantage,” he said. “Last weekend against Ferris was a good start for us. Ferris is annually a top 15 team in Division II in their region.”

Petrusma noted that this year’s team is young, but the leadership is good.

“We are young this year with 14 freshmen on our game day roster out of the 21 that suited up for the game,” Petrusma said. “Our captains are all seniors, however, and are doing an excellent job of leading this young team. Evan Koetje, Rich Luimes and Brent Harris bring the experience and the passion to enable our team’s success from here going forward.”

Despite this weekend’s mixed results, Calvin’s team members are hopeful about the year.

“We’re really optimistic about this year,” Betts said. “I know a lot of people are a little skeptical because we’re such a young team, but we feel like we have a really good chance of being a quality team.”

Senior Joel Betts, Ryan’s brother and a Calvin hockey fan, agreed.

“They have a lot of freshmen, but a lot of good freshmen,” he said. “It’s a young team, but I think they’ll do well.”

This weekend Calvin has two more games (one on Friday at 8 p.m. and one on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.) against Notre Dame at the Eagles Ice Center.

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