Illini men’s hockey prepares for season opener

By Jim Carter

The Illinois men’s hockey team opens up their season Friday night against Michigan State. The fighting Illini have already been hit with the injury bug and will start off the season without JJ Heredia, Pat Mannina and Mark Ergun.

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Team Captain Drew Heredia, who missed out on the second half of last season, said everyone is ready to step up their game.

“But it shows that you know you work hard and you show the coaches you can do it,” Heredia said. “There can be injuries; your always going to get your opportunity and when you get your opportunity you make the best of it. So these guys, we’ve already had a couple guys step up in practice but the real test is going to be the games to see how they can handle it.”

The team is anxious to get back and hit other people besides themselves and get a crowd at the University Ice Arena, 406 E. Armory in Champaign. Heredia said to expect a fast high powered offensive team that includes balance.

“Look for us to lock it up in the defensive zone, hopefully we get a lot of power play opportunities because with our speed and the big ice we have out here, it is a big advantage,” Heredia said.

The puck drops Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the University Ice Arena.

For live, play-by-play coverage of Illini men’s hockey, tune in to WPGU 107.1 fm during each game.