On Oct. 3, 2009, goalie Kevin Litinsky mans the goal during a match in the CU Recreation Center. The men's club hockey team face three daunting games this weekend, and may be hurting by Monday. (CU Indpendent file/Adam Alberti)
The Gulf Coast Clash could be one of the biggest challenges this season for the Colorado Buffaloes men’s club hockey team.
The recent news of backup goalie Sam Zarat’s broken arm leaves Kevin Litinsky as CU’s lone goalie. Though the forecast will be in the mid-70s in Fort Myers, Fla., the Buffaloes’ competition will be frigid.
On Friday, the Buffs will face Davenport University followed by games on Saturday and Sunday against Siena and Florida Gulf Coast University, respectively. Davenport has won the Gulf Coast Clash the past two seasons while Siena and Florida Gulf Coast bring high rankings and very respectable teams.
Because of the competition, head coach Ken Fikis said he is looking for a goalie.
“Somewhere, we’ve got to find another goalie,” Fikis said. “Zarat broke his arm and [Jonathan] Booth is ineligible.”
However, Fikis did note that Litinsky has been playing exceptionally well.
But three unrelenting opponents will test Litinsky’s endurance.
Litinsky said he has also never beaten Davenport in his tenure at CU. Friday’s game will likely be the biggest one this weekend.
“We’re looking forward to playing some top competition,” Litinsky said.
With Zarat out, Litinsky will have to find new ways to mentally prepare, especially against Davenport, who in its last five games, outscored their opponents 33-10.
Two players the Buffs will have to focus on are Davenport forwards Marc Thompson and Bobby Collar. The duo has combined for 38 goals and 48 assists this season. To prevent Thompson and Collar from getting beyond Litinsky and into the net, Fikis said he plans to play a wing lock defense.
“It’s almost like a quarterback spy,” Fikis said.
Keeping some of the top D-II scorers away from the net will take more than a wing lock. CU forward David Starr said he knows this weekend will need to be a physical one.
“I think going against Davenport, everyone’s going to need to play and everyone’s going to need to play real well,” Starr said. “Everyone’s going to need to play physical. They’re going to be quick. One way to stop that is to play the body.
“If we’re not scoring against them, we’re not going to win.”
This weekend could be a tall order for the Buffs, who have been in a recent scoring drought, according to Fikis.
“We played [Davenport] twice last year and held them, Fikis said. “Hopefully this year, we can play the same way.”
Contact CU Independent Social Media Editor Zack Shapiro at Zackshapiro@colorado.edu.
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