DWC men’s hockey opens final season at 1-8

Eric McCambly doesn’t mince words when it comes to the performance of the Daniel Webster College men’s hockey team he coaches.

“It’s been a difficult first half,” McCambly said as the Eagles will be back on the Conway Arena ice on Friday night versus Saint Anselm after a long layoff of nearly two weeks. “I feel strongly that we should (have four) rather than 1-8. We’re not playing hard enough and putting forth the effort in the system to be winning games.”

Clearly, McCambly isn’t happy with the direction his team is headed in its second full varsity season, third under his watch, and final campaign for the program with the school closing this spring. In fact, the Eagles men’s hockey team is the only surviving squad of the big athletic expansion undertaken a few years ago. Wrestling and women’s hockey have disbanded with players leaving school since the announcement of the closing was made in September.

But that hasn’t factored into the Eagles’ issues. McCambly has had plenty of numbers – the roster has at least 39 players – just not the results.

“The most frustrating thing is we can improve,” McCambly said. “At some point we need energy. I need the team leaders to wake up. We have the frustration of giving the No. 10 team (No. 14 Babson) all it can handle, but then we can’t finish. It’s kind of an enigma. At this point, we have to figure out who the guys are that can handle the game and do the things through the course of the hockey season to carry out the system.”

McCambly wants a fast-paced, up-tempo style where the defensemen get the puck out of their zone quickly.

The key? Hold on to the puck.

“When you have 55 turnovers in a period,” he said, referring to the Eagles’ performance against UMass Boston, “guys at this Division III varsity level are good and are going to take advantage of that.”

The Eagles lost to Babson just 3-1. They were frustrated in a late loss to Franklin Pierce, 3-2. But on the flip side, they allowed UMass Boston to fire 74 shots on them in a 6-1 loss.

DWC’s lone win came on the road the second week of the month against Southern Maine, when the Eagles showed the perserverance McCambly has been looking for. Down two goals entering the third period, they rallied for a 6-5 win with Ryan Murray scoring with just four-plus minutes to play.

“We need that kind of hard-working, charging, force-the-other-teams-into-turnovers style,” McCambly said. “But I don’t know if the guys mentally can grasp that. We’re working at times on buying it, but we’ve put ourselves in unfortunate situations.”

Murray, McCambly feels, has been “the most consistent player on offense.” The junior out of Farmington Hills, Mich., leads the Eagles with five goals and three assists. Tanner Todd, a freshman out of Henderson, Nev., is next with four goals. Last year’s leading scorer, Merrimack’s David Downie, did not come out this year.

McCambly feels five or six defensemen are starting to get the system, but the mainstay has been goalie Anthony D’Urso, a junior out of Rome, N.Y.

“He’s been our most consistent goaltender,” he said of D’Urso, who has a 3.27 goals-against in four games, clearly the best of the team’s four goaltenders.

In any event, McCambly is hoping for better results going forward.

“We need guys not to force things,” McCambly said. “The chasing phase is over. We need them to see what they need to do in certain situations.”

McCambly’s Eagles will have two more games before the semester break after Friday, both at home; Saturday night vs. New England College and the following Saturday, Dec. 10, vs. Lebanon Valley. By then, he’ll likely have a better idea of whether his players will have bought in.

“I feel we can win with this group,” he said.

Rivier’s stars of October

As November winds down, we need to recognize the Rivier University Athletes of the Month for October.

The women’s winner is junior volleyball standout Dana Mott of Medway, Mass., who last month led the team with 158 kills and a .418 hitting percentage. She also had 43 digs, 18 blocks and 16 service aces. With Mott in the lineup, the Raiders were 45-7 in 53 sets played.

The Riv Male Student Athlete of the Month was men’s soccer senior Alex Armstrong, of Wakefield, R.I., who had four goals and four assists in the month for 12 points with 21 shots in a 10-game stretch. He was fourth overall in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in points and had one game-winning goal during the month of October.

DWC men starting strong

Don’t look now but the Daniel Webster College men’s baskeball team is 3-0, off to one of its best starts ever, as it enjoyed a perfect holiday weekend, topping Merchant Marine Academy 59-49 and UMass Boston 88-78, to win the Harbor Invitational championship.

The Eagles Jaquan Harrison was named the tourney MVP after getting 15 points and nine boards in the final.

Marquise Caudill added 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Eagles rallied from a 55-46 deficit to grab the lead for good, 67-65, with just over six minutes to play on a Harrison hoop.

The Eagles are at Pine Manor on Thursday but open NECC play at 3 p.m. Saturday vs. Regis at home.

Heading into break

The Raiders men’s basketball team has six games left before the semester break, but the first three are conference games, including the scheduled game Tuesday night at Norwich.

They host Johnson and Wales on Thursday night and Anna Maria at 3 p.m. Saturday.

As for the women, they were also slated to open GNAC at Norwich on Tuesday, and host Anna Maria at 1 p.m. Saturday. There’s a twist in their schedule, because over the semester break they will be playing in a tournament in Puerto Rico.

Riv faces Berry College of Rome, Ga., on Dec. 28 and the University of Wisconsin-Plateville on Dec. 29.

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