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Club hockey sweeps Rutgers in opening series of season

The Colorado State Division I club hockey team opened its season with a two-game series against Rutgers University in New Jersey. The first game on Friday saw the Rams take home a 7-3 win over the Ice Knights. On Saturday, the Rams won an overtime battle 3-2.

CSU entered the weekend as No. 17 in the national ranking, the highest ranking the team has ever secured entering the season. The Rams are coming off one of their most successful seasons since moving up to the Division I level as the team made it to the national tournament in 2016.

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The Rams kicked off their season with a slow first period where Rutgers took a 2-0 lead at the end of the first. Momentum shifted after that as CSU fought its way back, ultimately winning 7-3. The Rams recorded an impressive 60 shots on goal in the first game, indicative of the pressure they applied throughout the day. 

“The game went really well, we had over 60 shots on goal and we outplayed the other team,” head coach Jeff Degree said. “It was a good start for our first real game.”

Saturday’s game ended with another victory for the Rams, this time in a closer battle. In an overtime effort, the Rams defeated Rutgers 3-2 to sweep the opening series of the year.

“It was a similar game to the first one,” Degree said. “Their goalie played well, we had 54 shots on goal. I thought our guys did a good job responding when they tied it up, it was a good weakened and a good start to the season.”

The Rams turn their attention to two home games on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 against Eastern Michigan And Utah, respectively. Both games will be played at the EPIC Center in Fort Collins.

“We graduated 10 seniors this year and have 12 new guys this year, we have to be patient as we develop and it may take a while to get where we want,” Degree said. “We are very optimistic about our situation in goal, and that is a good spot to have a strong presence in. When all the guys learn to play with each other, it will be a good year.”

Collegian sports reporter Evan Grant can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @EvanNGrant.

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