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Hockey crystal ball

By Dave Diamond

After losing two games in Pennsylvania last month, the Pride Ice Hockey team's chances of making its first trip to nationals is a long shot. But there is still hope. A team that is self-proclaimed "full of heart" must refocus its efforts on the Metropolitan Collegiate Hockey Conference, where a deep playoff run might get them a second chance at ACHA #1 SUNY Albany and increase their portfolio for nationals.

It is around this time of year that the Pride wrap-up the first half of their season and then take their winter break before returning in January, where the Pride will give key players the opportunity to get healthy. However, the team has some key games to get through before they lick their wounds.

Hofstra lost to Fairfield last Saturday and currently sit four points behind undefeated Southern Connecticut St. for first place in the MCHC's South Division. That huge game looms Dec. 10 at the Northford Ice Pavillion in Connecticut. The Pride will travel to Yale two days before that battle, and will also travel to Briarcliffe on the 16th before the break.

Needless to say, home ice is something foreign to the Pride for the time being, but that changes when they return for the remainder of the schedule starting Jan. 20. Five games will be played after the holidays, four of which will be at the Ice Works in Syosset. The other will be against SUNY Farmingdale at The Rinx in Hauppauge, so the Pride will not leave Long Island for the remainder of the regular season. That is great news for a banged-up team.

Also, the Pride is planning to schedule an extra home game against ACHA-ranked Monmouth to boost their credentials for nationals. Hofstra opted to play this game rather than accept an invitation to play three ACHA teams in three days in Philadelphia this past weekend.

Wagner Gets 100th Point

In its 5-4 loss last Saturday to Fairfield, there was reason to celebrate for captain Steve Wagner. Wagner netted career points 100 and 101 with a goal and an assist in the game, getting the milestone in creative fashion. The senior banked the puck off the back of the Fairfield goaltender from behind the goal line.

"I didn't even realize it was my 100th until I got home, I thought I needed four or five more," Wagner said.

Playing with a broken bone in his right wrist, Wagner joins Brian Ferrara, Rob Gleckler, Matt Orenstein and Tim Firth as the only players to surpass 100 points in their career.

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