The University of New Mexico Men’s hockey team returned to the rink on Jan 12 and has continued to maintain a strong season, starting the New Year with three wins and one loss.
Starting with a close loss to Dallas Baptist University, the UNM Lobos have found their groove, showing up as the team we saw before winter break. Since the loss to DBU, the Lobos have claimed victory over Grand Canyon University and Northern Arizona University, gaining redemption over a rematch sweeping them 9-3
According to the team’s captain, senior Austin Short, the Lobo offense is on fire, having a total of 33 points in their last four games.
“Offensively, we’re firing on all cylinders,” said Short in an interview on Wednesday, “we still have things to work defensively and goaltending wise, but everyone is really optimistic right now.”
UNM head coach Grant Harvey said he hopes to finalize his selection for goaltender before the playoffs—an important decision that could be the difference between wins and loses.
In order to up the team’s game even further, Harvey said he is working on playing faster and having crisp and clean passing, but noted that the offense is playing at an all-time high.
The Lobos are currently ranked second in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division 3, Pacific league. They plan to keep the momentum going and make it to nationals in March. To skip regionals and go straight to nationals, the Lobos need to dominate the competition in the playoffs.
Despite the lack of funds available to the hockey team, the opportunity to compete in nationals, and potentially at the championship, is a cost worth paying to show for their hard work.
This season’s success has shined a light on seniors Austin Short and Jaxson Farnholtz who remain the team’s top scorers. Short having 26 goals and 17 assists and Farnholtz with 19 goals and 25 assists. The talent and leadership from the seniors has brought the Lobos to a lot of wins but because they’re graduating, Coach Harvey is already looking ahead at filling the holes.
“I’m not panicking,” Harvey commented, “I look forward to recruits and where we’re lack-lustering is the New Mexico talent has been less and less copious. There are less players joining every year which means less talent.”
Harvey hopes to carry the momentum from this season into next season and fill the void by working on the skills already maintained by his current players and hopefully find talent among newcomers.
The success story of the UNM Lobo hockey team is one that the players hope to continue as they take on Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas.
Alanie Rael is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers men's and women's skiing but also contributes content for football and hockey. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AllyRael.