One of the factors that contributed to Navy’s 8-7 loss to Boston University in the Patriot League opener for both teams on Saturday was the disappearance of the attack.
Sophomore Ryan Wade and juniors Chris Hill and Dave Little failed to register a goal or an assist, coming up empty on a total of 10 shots and committing six turnovers. It was a startling outing for a unit that has been fairly productive for the Midshipmen (1-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference), and coach Rick Sowell was at a loss for answers to the attack’s ineffectiveness against the Terriers (5-0, 1-0).
“They played some good defense, and their goalie made some saves, and then there are some things that we’ve got to do better,” Sowell said Wednesday. “We were just a little off, and there was a lack of execution. We’ll see. I hope it’s not a trend, and I don’t think it will be. I’d like to expect that this is the exception, not the rule.”
Navy has often fielded potent attacks. In fact, the last time that starting unit finished a game without a single point occurred on Feb. 25, 2010 when Andy Warner, Brendan Connors, and Ryan O’Leary were shut out by North Carolina in an 11-4 setback. Perhaps that’s why Sowell seems to think that Saturday’s showing is a rarity.
“Whether you want to call it bad timing with all of them not playing as well as they would have liked, how often does that happen? How much was dictated by the defense?” he asked rhetorically. “As a coach, I think there are some things we could have done better as a team that could have put them in a better position to be successful. And they could have done some things better, too. It’s a shared responsibility for how they all played on Saturday.”
The offense is still awaiting the return of junior attackman Jack Ray, who posted 26 goals and 12 assists last spring, but has sat out the past two contests due to a foot injury. The 6-foot-6, 261-pound Ray has not yet been cleared to practice, but Sowell said an examination revealed last week that recovery is going according to schedule.
“There’s been no setbacks,” Sowell said. “No definite timetable [for his return]. We’re still probably in the ‘couple weeks’ area. He got checked out again last Friday, and we are ecstatic that everything is healing and everything’s great. So that’s good news, but I can’t say he’s coming back next week or the week after. It is kind of week to week, but it was good news to know there were no setbacks.”