A group of hockey players are on the bench.

Rhody men’s hockey coach Joe Augustine notches 700th win for URI

by John Cardullo, sportswriter

Photo: At the Helm – URI men’s hockey coach on the bench at the Boss Arena. URI photos by Michael Salerno.

Two goals by Dylan Weichselbaumer propel URI to 4-3 victory over Drexel

Joe Augustine has been at it for 33 seasons as the head coach of the University of Rhode Island’s club hockey team, and now he has 700 wins as part of a long and distinguished hockey career.

With a come-from-behind 4-3 victory Friday over Drexel University in the quarterfinals of the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League, the Rams gave their skipper his 700th win and a date Saturday night with Niagara University in the semifinals.

A MAJOR HONOR: Men’s hockey coach Joe Augustine walks toward center ice in 2019 when he was honored for coaching his 1,000 game at URI.

Before the Saturday night contest, the public address announcer at Revolution Ice Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania, told the crowd that Augustine, a resident of Scituate, had won his 700th game the night before. The announcer added that the milestone was a remarkable accomplishment and that Augustine is one of the greats in the history of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, the national governing body overseeing college club hockey.

Niagra had an opening-round bye, and it showed Saturday night. Although URI was down only 1-0 entering the third period, the Rams seemed a step slower throughout the contest and wound up losing, 3-0. The loss ended their season.

Despite the loss, URI’s junior goalie  Curtis Briggs, of Foster, had an outstanding game with 34 saves, keeping the Rams in it until late in the third period.

“I was pleased with our effort and execution Friday against Drexel,” Augustine said. “But we just didn’t have it Saturday against Niagara. We hung in there well into the third period, but we just didn’t take advantage of our scoring chances. When Niagara got those two late goals, that was it.”

When the game against Niagara ended, Augustine’s lifetime record at URI stood at 700-344-73.

Augustine was pleased with how his team came on strong at the end of the regular season, going 9-0 to make the Rams the third seed in the regional tournament.

“We were an up-and-down team, but we came together well in the last several weeks to put ourselves in position for a run over the weekend,” he said.

In the quarterfinal game Friday against Drexel, senior Ram forward Dylan Weichselbaumer of Hampden, Massachusetts, opened the scoring with about 20 seconds left in the first period, with an assist from senior forward Luke Judge of Long Beach, New York. Junior Kevin Kanaczet of Narragansett had the other assist.

Drexel moved out to a 2-1 lead in the second period, but at the 6-minute mark, junior URI defenseman Jonathan Shaw of Kennesaw, Georgia, tied it following a brilliant feed from senior forward Thomas Fagan of East Islip, New York.

With only 2 minutes gone in third period, Drexel took the lead again, but the Rams fought back to tie it at 3 with Judge’s one-timer from the left side of the goal mouth. Judge was the recipient of a sharp pass from the right faceoff circle by freshman forward Zack Bell of Wakefield.

Weichselbaumer sealed the 4-3 win for the Rams, as he broke from the left side of the neutral zone, drove to the left side of Drexel’s goal and fired the game-winner with about 4:30 to go in the game.

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john cardullo
John Cardullo, sportswriter
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