strongEvan Sporer and Ian Steele, Beacon Staff and Beacon Correspondent/strong
Misha Spivack is no stranger to taking the ice for Emerson’s hockey team.
Spivack spent four years donning the purple and black sweater for Emerson hockey, spending his final year as team captain before graduating last May with a visual media arts degree.
So when Emerson’s hockey team kicked off its season Saturday at the Walter Brown Arena against the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Nads, the 22-year-old once again took the ice with his former teammates. Only this time, Spivack was their coach.
Making his debut at the helm of Emerson hockey, Spivack started off his coaching career with a bang, as Emerson throttled the Nads 10-2 in a lopsided victory.
“He comes with a system,” junior captain Alfonso Carrion said. “He’s taken our coaching to a new level. He learned our styles and combined them, which is something we lacked in the past.”
The system worked, as Emerson got off to a quick start, scoring on its first shot of the season. That tally came off Jennifer Stafford’s stick, garnering the Lions a 1-0 advantage early in the first period.
“Our defense was good in the neutral zone, breaking up passes and blocking shots,” said freshman goalie Brian Lynch. “[RISD] looked sloppy on offense, and we were obviously able to capitalize on that.”
With RISD aggressively trying to cut the deficit, the Nads found themselves short-handed with just under five minutes left in the first. With the man-advantage, junior Kyler Schelling lit the lamp for the Lions and Emerson took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Cal Ciarcia extended Emerson’s lead to three early in the second period. With the Nads on their heels, Ciarcia’s aggressive forecheck forced a turnover, and soon after, the sophomore netted his first of three goals on the night. The sophomore, who led Emerson’s baseball team in stolen bases last season, showed his speed on the ice and was a constant pest in the Nads’ zone.
Both Ciarcia and Schelling finished the game with hat tricks, as Emerson was well in control throughout.
“We knew the key would be to start the game physically. They weren’t ready for it,” said Carrion.
With a number of returning players, and a coach familiar with the skaters and culture of Emerson hockey, it was a formula for success in the team’s opening tilt.
“[Spivack] was a quiet leader,” said Carrion. “If he had an off night, he’d be the one practicing his ass off. He led by action rather than speech.”
Spivack downplayed the move from the ice to the clipboard.
“Transitioning to a coach from a captain isn’t that hard. I just never thought I’d shout as much,” said Spivack. “I was a player, and I’d say I’m a player’s coach. I’m not one to take a stick to anyone’s head or bench them for a week. I know everyone’s here because they love to play.”
Spivack currently lives in Somerville while working at Orinoco, a Venezuelan restaurant in Brookline.
The Lions will find themselves back on the ice tomorrow night when they take on the Suffolk Rams at the Simoni Rink in Cambridge.
“The goal is to keep winning, game by game,” Spivack said. “All the way up to the Boylston Cup.”
emSporer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ev_sporer. Steele can be reached at email@example.com./em