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Devils focus on hockey, Wentworth weekend
FREDONIA, N.Y. -- It's been nearly a month since the last Fredonia State men's hockey game. At the time, finals exams and papers loomed, which made for a heavy away-from-hockey classroom workload.
With the start of the second semester not until Jan. 28, the Blue Devils can focus on their games over the next three weeks -- beginning with a two-game weekend series with Wentworth Institute of Technology from Boston, Mass.
The teams meet 7 p.m. Saturday inside the Steele Hall Ice Arena -- the first on-campus home event of 2008 -- before sauntering off to the south county for a 3 p.m. Sunday game at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena. It'll mark the first time the Blue Devils have played a home game somewhere other than Steele Hall in 21 years of varsity hockey.
"All breaks end up being good," Fredonia State head coach Jeff Meredith said, "in that they help rejuvenate you. This is a great time of the year in that the student-athletes are here with no classes, so really they only have to concern themselves with training and playing. It's almost like a pro hockey experience."
When they last played on Dec. 8, the Blue Devils (5-5-3) found themselves on the short end of a 7-2 decision at Neumann College. It was also their third straight game without a win (2 losses, 1 tie), so the games with Wentworth cannot come soon enough.
The visiting Leopards, members of the ECAC Northeast division, bring a 4-6-0 record into the game. They, too, have been idle since Dec. 8, a 7-1 loss to nationally ranked Norwich. It was their fourth straight loss by a combined score of 23-3.
"Wentworth looks a lot like us," Meredith said, "in that their record is around .500 and they have had some tough losses to good teams. For both of us ... getting off to a quick start is the key.
"Our focus this week has been to get our intensity up just a bit higher than it was the first semester. I can see lots of good things happening but now we have to put them together this weekend."
NOTES: Fans purchasing a ticket to the Saturday night game will also receive a free ticket to the Sunday game in Jamestown ... Anyone wearing any kind of hockey jersey will be admitted free Sunday ... Tickets for a pre-game reception Sunday will be on sale at the door inside the Jamestown area. The 2 p.m. reception -- and a post-game dinner -- is sponsored by the Fredonia State Office of Alumni Affairs ... The next goal by Fredonia State senior forward Neal Sheehan (Avon Lake, Ohio) will be his 50th as a Blue Devil and will tie him for eighth on the team career goals list.