By Dominic Chamberlain
Long unbeaten streak. Strong goaltending from a senior. One offensive line that seems to score multiple points per game.
That is a very basic summary of the Griffs’ hockey season right now. But we’ve seen this movie before, just two years ago to be exact. The only difference is that most of the characters are different.
Currently, Charles Williams is playing amazing in net while Ryan Schmelzer, Dylan McLaughlin, Nick Hutchinson, and Felix Chamberland are scoring in what feels like every game. There is an unquestioned defensive leader in senior Geoff Fortman, and the man at the helm of the whole thing is Dave Smith. Sitting currently with an eight-game unbeaten streak, the Griffs look like the team to beat in Atlantic Hockey, and the college hockey community is taking notice just like they did in the 2014-15 season.
Back then, the Griffs went on a seven-game unbeaten streak. While also on that streak, the Griffs picked up a point in nine straight games. It was, at the time, the longest unbeaten streak in the entire country.
And much like the current Griffs, they were anchored by senior goalie Keegan Asmundson and senior defensemen Doug Jessey. Schmelzer has been a part of this before, too, as he was a part of the “score multiple points a game” line in the 14-15 season when, as a freshman, he centered Ralph Cuddemi and Shane Conacher. At the helm was Coach Smith, and the Griffs looked to ride this momentum into the Atlantic Hockey Tournament.
For the most part they did, winning the first round of the tournament with 2-0 and 2-1 wins against Sacred Heart. Then came the semi-finals against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers. It was a game that ended with controversy as the Tigers won 2-1 from a goal that appeared to have come from an offside play. Due to technical difficulties, the Griffs were informed pre-game that offside would not be reviewable this game, thus the goal wrongly stood and the Griffs, arguably the hottest team in Atlantic Hockey, were eliminated.
These two Griff teams are eerily similar. Both streaks started at similar points in the season, and with everything mentioned above, it’s hard not to think that the Griffs are a remake of a film made just two years ago and are on pace to be disappointed in a similar way again this season.
Or maybe it’s a sequel.
Maybe, just maybe, the returning cast of Geoff Fortman, Ryan Schmelzer, and Coach Smith have that previous film in mind. Maybe the Griffs will be the hottest team in the conference and they won’t lose amidst controversy.
So I pose the question: is this team the sequel or the remake of the heartbreak from two years ago?