Rob Madore knows all the meetings, all the discussions, all the introspection won’t be enough to salvage the University of Vermont men’s hockey season unless the Catamounts act as well as talk.
At Tuesday’s news conference, the sophomore goalie said the Catamounts must “actually pay attention to the clichés we like to spew every time we have a microphone in front of our face.”
The Catamounts feel the urgency of their situation, he said, “We’re not panicked; we just know we can’t waste opportunities that we have.”
Nor has the failure to date to meet their expectations, as well as those of others, fractured team camaraderie, he said.
“Guys are together; guys are buying in. We have a lot of faith in our leadership and in our captains,” Madore said. “We’re getting leadership now from guys that maybe weren’t comfortable to say things.
“Everyone knows what they have to do; everyone knows what we have to do as a team and so now … we need to get things together,” he said. “Guys are kind of speaking their minds a little more and trying to get on each other a little more to push each other each day.”
At a players’ meeting this week after UVM’s one-point home weekend against Maine, Madore said, all agreed they needed prepare better through hard work and focus only on the challenge for the day, whether in practice or in a game.
“Guys are going to try and focus that urgency on practice today, on practice tomorrow, and when the game comes, we’re going to focus all our energy on that game instead of worrying about, hey, we need to win two games to get the series, or whatever the case may be.”
What coach Kevin Sneddon refers to as need for discipline—not the punishment type of discipline, but the discipline to do every little thing right—Madore called a lack of “professionalism,” providing a glimpse behind the locker room door.
“One of things we talked about was our locker room; we thought we could do a better job of taking care of that. It might seem insignificant but it’s one of those professionalism things. You walk into a locker room, it looks good and you have that professional attitude in everything you do and hopefully that translate to the ice,” he said.
“We talked a lot about professionalism when you get to the rink, where you can set everything else aside and get ready for practice and have your head in practice and not just being there,” he said. “That’s a big thing; maybe it’s like a trickle-down. You take care of one thing, it’s going to trickle down to all the other elements of your game and I think that’s contagious around the room.”
If Vermont does that, the Catamounts might yet turn this into a successful season, but it starts this weekend. Only two obstacles stand between them and a change of fortune: the Providence Friars … and themselves.