Season looking up for men’s hockey

With the return of junior Justin Milo and senior goalie Mike Spillane to the mix, things are looking up for the men’s hockey team after some early season troubles. This past weekend was strong for the Catamounts, battling to a 3-3 tie against UMass-Lowell on Friday and defeating Providence 3-0 on Sunday.The weekend’s success comes after two decisive losses against Merrimack and Maine in late October.”I’m a firm believer in the notion that adversity does make a team stronger,” head coach Kevin Sneddon said.”Definitely a satisfying weekend,” senior Brayden Irwin added. “Tough little stretch there, but it was good to get back on track and in the right direction.”Though learning from past losses was a motivating factor for the team, Milo’s return to the roster certainly helped.Milo scored three goals last weekend.Because of an injury, Milo was not able to participate in an exhibition game before the start of the season, forcing him to return to the ice with less practice.”We’re very proud of him being able to step right in and play at the highest level of his game,” Sneddon said. “To step into an important league game against one of the best teams in the country in Lowell and have an impact, I was very pleased for him and certainly proud.”Solid goaltending was another huge part of the team’s ability to get back into form.Though the goaltending duties have been largely left to sophomore Rob Madore since last season, it was Spillane who took over the net Sunday and earned the shutout with 33 saves.Spillane is coming back from an injury this season as well and is ready to make an impact, according to Sneddon.”He’s done a great job in practice and preparation,” Sneddon said.Spillane’s return will be adding some new uncertainty to the goalie position.”It’s a great problem to have as a coach to have two goalies playing very well,” Sneddon said. “Rob played great on Friday, Mike was outstanding on Sunday.”Irwin added that the team is remaining confident looking toward the rest of the season, and a two-game series at Boston College this weekend.”There definitely was a stretch there for a couple games where we didn’t feel we were living up to what we were capable of, but we knew we were a great hockey team and I don’t think we ever lost that,” Irwin said.