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By Char Grimm
The UK hockey team opens their season Friday at D-1 Slippery Rock University in the first meeting of the two teams.
“We did it my freshman year,” senior alternate captain Dylan Rohar said of opening the season against a division one team, “and we won.”
“It’ll let us know where we are right off the get go,” junior goaltender Aaron Tenfelde said. “That’s the top of the competition we’re going to be facing.”
On Saturday they will face-off against another first time opponent, the West Virginia University.
“We have a tough schedule this year,“ senior captain Sean McLaughlin said.
This year’s schedule is packed with new faces and old rivalries, two of which include Penn State and Alabama. Most notable of the old rivalries is Eastern Kentucky and Louisville.
“(Louisville) has some new talent,” Tenfelde said. “They have a team this year. We’ll be ready to take it to them.”
As opposed to some of their competition, the Cats play in division two of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
UK lost some of their core players in Michael Getz, Billy Glass, Hunter Lyons and Danny Graham at the end of last season.
“It’s a big loss,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll miss them, but we have a good team this year.”
The team recruited several new players during the off season whose work ethic McLaughlin said he is a fan of.
“We aren’t as skilled as we have been in the past, but these guys are working a lot harder than teams we’ve had in the past,” he said.
Tenfelde said their a more of a cohesive unit heading into the new season, adding, “There aren’t any cliques.”
All home games are to be played at midnight at the Lexington Ice Center, 560 Eureka Springs Drive. Admission is $7.