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Roster Issues Lead to Playoff Problems

Ithaca College Club hockey plans out their next play on a timeout

Key Points

  • Ithaca College Club Hockey won their first playoff game,  Sunday February 18th vs Onondaga Community College
  • OCC’s head coach looked into Ithaca’s roster and noticed inconsistencies
  • A rematch was scheduled at 10pm in Syracuse the following Thursday

Hockey Hopes

The final seconds tick off the clock and a buzzer sounds, signaling the end of the game and the first collegiate playoff win for this group of hockey players. Ithaca College club hockey beats Onondaga Community College 5-3, capping off a perfect 3-0 season against the opponent.

As the IC players drive home from The Rink  in Ithaca, they begin to look ahead to their next playoff opponent, Clarkson University. They have plenty of time to rest, practice, and gear up for the 6pm Friday night matchup.

But as the players drifted off to sleep, they had no idea that just one day later the their excitement would come to a halt.

Ithaca College celebrates after beating OCC in the playoff game Sunday  February 18

The Ice Melts

Monday morning, junior forward, Andy Rossler woke up to a text in the GroupMe app from the team manager.

“I knew something was wrong, we didn’t have practice scheduled that night, but our team manager was asking everyone if they could meet,” said Rossler.

At the meeting the problem was laid out. On Sunday, their usual manager wasn’t in attendance, so another Ithaca College student stepped in to filled out the team’s game roster.

Ithaca College Club hockey forward Liam Barry noticed that although she seemed eager to do the job, she wasn’t prepared.

“Five minutes before we’re about to take the ice, our manager texts us, saying he can’t make it, so a fan volunteers to fill in,” said Barry,  “We didn’t have time to tell her who all the players were. We just told her to check the GroupMe for player names to ask around during the game and breaks, to figure out everyone’s numbers.”

Roster Issues

To the player’s misfortune, their GroupMe still included players from previous seasons. So when she filled out the roster, it looked like they had older players dressed to play in that night’s game.

Another issue was that names in the GroupMe were different than players’ actual names because they often use their nicknames in the chat. For example, forward Austin Morley is only under “Morley” in the GroupMe, so that’s what she wrote on the roster.

That same day, Onondaga’s coach took one look at IC’s roster, compared it to the roster available online, and saw clear inconsistencies.

Ithaca College Club Hockey Official Roster, which is available online

OCC’s coach brought it to the attention of the UNYCHL commissioner. This wasn’t the first time he had gone digging after his team had lost. Earlier in the season, the team lost to Union College, and rather than accept the loss, he examined their roster as well. Ultimately it was determined that Union purposefully altered their roster to suit up older players, and they were ejected from the league.

But in this case, it was obvious Ithaca had no premeditated intentions. And even though OCC had lost every matchup against Ithaca, they wanted another shot.

So a rematch was settled upon. Prior to the game Liam Barry was confident in his team, “Everyone’s fired up about this whole scenario, so we’re going in pretty hot.”

Andy Rossler (left) and Liam Barry (right) get ready to enter the rink to rematch OCC Thursday at 10 pm

Dominating the Rematch

The first game was played in Ithaca, on a Sunday at 1pm. But the second game was scheduled outside of Syracuse, about an hour and a half away from Ithaca College.

Not to mention, it was scheduled for 10pm, on a Thursday.

Ithaca dictated the pace of play, functioning as one cohesive unit. After 3 shortened fifteen-minute periods, Ithaca had won again, this time 3-1.

After the game, Rossler was conflicted, happy but frustrated about the rematch since the outcome was the same.

“Giving them another shot at a playoff game they definitely came with more fire, they wanted it. Maybe not more than Sunday but having another chance they really didn’t want to mess this one up. I think that they brought that intensity but at the end of the day they can’t really match ours. ”

Tough Turnaround

Although Ithaca won the rescheduled game, it put them in a uniquely difficult position. Thursday’s game ended at 12:20 a.m. By the time the players came off the ice, celebrated, undressed, and arrived back to Ithaca, it was past 2:30 a.m. Some players had to wake up hours later 8 a.m. classes.

That same day,  the team had to drive back to Syracuse to play Clarkson.

Although Rossler was relieved they had won again, he recognized his team was going to be exhausted in the next game.

“It’s gonna be tough, the fact that we had to come out on a Thursday night at 10 o’clock to play another playoff game because they weren’t satisfied with the last loss they got. It’s gonna stink in the weekend. Playing back-to-back games is never fun. But we’re gonna match our intensity, we’ve been conditioning all year so we’re gonna roll into ready.”

Ithaca plays Clarkson Friday night at 6pm back in Syracuse

Less than a day after the win, the Bombers club hockey team was back in Syracuse to skate against Clarkson. Former UNYCHL league commissioner Andrew Musto was glad Ithaca won.

“It makes for a better match-up against Clarkson. Ithaca played their game and deserved the win,” said Musto.

Clarkson went into Friday with a huge advantage, they hadn’t played in over a week. Ithaca lost 5-1.

Barry was sullen the next day, “If we hadn’t rematched OCC who knows how the game against Clarkson would’ve gone. We wouldn’t have been sleep deprived and sore from the night before, that’s for sure. It’s really frustrating that we didn’t have the ability to go into that game rested and ready. We would’ve had a better chance.”

Although they lost against Clarkson, the IC club team managed to celebrate their great season at the hockey banquet the Saturday after


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