At 0-3 in the Northeast Conference and with just three league contests remaining, Mount St. Mary's knows there's no need to sugarcoat what is at stake when the team visits conference foe Bryant on Saturday.
"There's no way to possibly look at it in any other way at this game," coach Tom Gravante said Thursday afternoon. "It's a must-win to keep our playoff hopes alive. We have three left, and there is a chance that we can get there. … We can still get in there at 3-3."
That path begins when the Mountaineers (0-12 overall) meet the Bulldogs (9-3, 2-1), who have won four of six games in the series. And Gravante said the players fully understand how important Saturday's contest is.
"They know the significance of it," he said. "It's really the same with all of the games we play in the conference. They're all playoff games to make the playoffs. We're not trying to pressure them."
Gravante said sophomore goalkeeper Frankie McCarthy will make his fourth consecutive start. McCarthy's numbers of a 10.32 goals-against average and .520 save percentage are slightly better than incumbent and senior Chris Klaiber's (13.47 goals-against average and .510 save percentage).
"I think he's played well – well enough to maintain the position over Chris Klaiber," Gravante said of McCarthy. "We just haven't really supported our goalies offensively. Chris played well, and unfortunately, offensively we threw him under the bus at times and when we couldn't manage the ball on offense, faceoffs and defense, it was a little bit of a double whammy. And that's happened to both goalies. … At 0-9, we had to make a change in the cage. We wanted to give Frankie some minutes and some experience starting as the eventual starter next year. But Chris will still see time, and he has to be ready to play as Frankie was coming off the bench."