Hawks Upend Owls on Awareness Night

FALL RIVER, Mass. — New jerseys, lavender game programs and ribbons stickers, and memorial banners. Both the Hawks and Driscoll Arena were dressed up for the hockey team’s testicular cancer awareness game.

The conference game was played in memory of James Stowe, a member of the team who died in 2017 after a battle with testicular cancer. The jersey number he wore, 13, was written on the glass behind the net the Hawks always defend twice in regulation. 

The custom jerseys had each player’s last name on them — something their regular ones don’t have.  On the shoulder and the back of the jersey is a lavender ribbon with “Stowe” on one end and his number on the other. 

“Over Christmas, the captains just did an outstanding job bringing the whole thing together,” said Head Coach Michael O’Brien. “Great leadership from our captains to get that together.”

Following a ceremonial puck drop by Stowe’s parents, the game began. On this important night, paired with it being the first weekend back from winter break, the student section was more full than it had been all season for the 4-0 win for the Hawks.

Both teams struggled in the first period, generating chances that were stopped either by the defense or goaltender. The closest chance was a shot that beat Westfield State goalie Robert Geromini but rang off the crossbar and out.

The Hawks entered the second period with their packed student section surrounding Geromini. With the help from the fan section roaring at every RWU opportunity, the Hawks broke through. Junior Michael Tabb deked around a WSU defender and dished a pass to junior Max Schwartz who buried the first goal and the eventual game-winner. 

The Owls came back quickly with an opportunity, but a shot from the slot by Westfield State’s Conner Cottengim was saved by Marc Frederick as he flashed his glove to deny the scoring chance.

A great individual effort by sophomore Nicholas Hart ended with him sliding a pass to sophomore Christian Brinkley for his first of the game. 

The Hawks utilized their formation and generated far more turnovers than their opponent on the forecheck. Players like Tabb, Hart and sophomore Griffin Gagne used their speed and toughness to pry the puck away from Westfield players, which resulted in more scoring opportunities.

“They look at the situation,” said O’Brien. “We’ve been working on that for months and we got it now. It gets us a lot of offense.” 

The Hawks were in total control of the game by the time the third period began. Their lead was increased by a deflection goal by Gagne as well as a Brinkley wrist shot for his second goal.

The team, through ticket sales and raffle items, raised a total of $2,800 in their 4-0 win. All the money they raised is going toward cancer research through the foundation made in Stowe’s name.