Kneeling (L-R) Dennis Harold, Joe Burick, Dave Wagner, Ed Ricketts, Rich Wagner, John Konfala, Roland DeFelice, Rick Dell, Bernie Reese, Bob Matthews.
Standing (L-R) Coach Bob Farrell, Fr. Herman Ubinger O.S.B., Jay Murray, Pete Citrone, John McQuillan, Doug Seib, Mark O’Brien, Jack Hutchinson, Dave Bogonovich, John Trovato, Mike Ziemianski, Dave Vance, Larry Sylvester, Gene Komondor, Brian Fisher, Don Oles.
“The Return of Black and Gold Sweaters”
1977 – 1978
As exciting as the 1977-1978 season, so disappointing was the campaign of 1977-1978. It started with high expectations, including the introduction of new black and gold Boston Bruin style sweaters, complete with a new school crest. Not that the team did not have bright spots. Ed Rickets had easily become one of the most dominant players in the league. Several outstanding freshman including, Dave Wagner, John Trovato, John Bumbaugh, John Konfala, Doug Seib, Jim Bradley, Mark O’Brien, and Pete Citrone showed the potential for a solid foundation for the future. Dave Bogonovich transferred from WCCC and became a key player from the start. Mike Ziemianski finally learned to play defense from John McQuillan and started to block shots for goaltender Bob Mathews instead of screening him. Jay Murray joined the management team as Co-Director with Mike Ziemianski. Also, the hockey team became involved with the Bearcat Athletic Club Boosters and Father Herman Ubinger, O.S.B. became the team’s Administrative Advisor. To save money, Claude Godon, the previous year’s coach was not rehired. Roland DeFelice, who was to graduate in December assumed the role of player coach.
When the season started, the team looked solid. Continuing from the previous year’s success, the squad quickly picked up two victories with wins over Slippery Rock and Thiel College. After a disappointing tie with CCAC Boyce, the year began a slow downward spiral. The next 4 games ended in defeat. After a long period of success, players began to argue with one another and team unity started to wane. In spite of having Roland DeFelice and Dave Vance back in the lineup, the team decided that it needed more experienced and detached leadership. With Roland graduating in December, the call went out to a former player to begin the rebuilding process, and Bob Farrell accepted the head coaching position.
In his opening debut as the new head coach, Bob guided the team to a 6-4 victory over CMU at the Civic Arena. But unfortunately, it was to be the last win of the season. The first line of Rick Dell, Ed Ricketts, and Mark Higgins, had to be broken up when Mark went to study in Europe for the remainder of his junior year. Roland DeFelice, one of the team’s all time great scoring forwards graduated in December. Dave Vance literally wore out his skates and also stopped playing. Don Rothrauff took the season off. Jim Bradley had his career end with an unfortunate auto accident. Twice during the season the team came down with the flu and several games were played with only half of the available players on the roster being able to participate.
The team stayed competitive and with Ricketts still in the lineup many games stayed close only to see the team’s lack of depth cause shortfalls in the 3’rd period. From a 2-0-1 start, the team ended a disappointing 3-13-1. It was the last hurrah for Rick Dell, Roland DeFelice, Dave Vance, Rich Wagner, Joe Burick, Jack Hutchinson, and Jim Ward.