Arizona Rubber

Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Lobos finding early-season success with tough games on tap

 

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For the University of New Mexico, a new season means new beginnings.

What hasn’t changed, however, is the Lobos’ confidence, night in and night out, even with roster changes, additions and subtractions.

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“The departure of three of my four starting defensemen has given the chance for others to step up and get some minutes and experience,” said UNM coach Grant Harvey. “Last year’s second line, offense wise, also hid behind my first line for production and now that they are gone, this year’s first line with seniors Nate Taglialegami and Graeme Chiasson has stepped up and been an offensive powerhouse.”

In net, senior James Bostian is back, deciding to stay one more year to advance his nursing degree.

As for newcomers, former Calvin College (Mich.) player Ben Hopp has been a standout for the Lobos.

“I saw him at pick-up hockey and prayed he was a student,” said Harvey. “After a lengthy phone call, he decided this program was a fit for him and it has been very beneficial. He is smart and sees the ice well and has filled in on defense where we needed it the most.”

Harvey added that, “Offensively, we are as deadly as we have ever been.”

“Every line is a threat, so line matching against us proves to be difficult for teams,” Harvey said. “For my defensemen, a couple of injuries has caused different sets of ‘D’ partners, which can be taxing, but they are ironing out the wrinkles.”

Going forward, Harvey is excited at the direction the team is heading.

“We have the toughest schedule we have ever had in 2018-19,” said Harvey. “We have strong opponents for the rest of the year – six out of the top 10 teams are either coming up or we have played them. It will be an exciting year and I’m anxious to see how we respond. This team has a different look and identity but just enough remnants of the national playoff team of last year to make me feel good about our playoff ambitions this year.”

— Matt Mackinder

(Nov. 20, 2018)