Robert Mastrosimone is ready to give it another go.
Mastrosimone, an East Islip, N.Y., native, is one of the few returning players for the Chicago Steel hockey team this year.
Most of the roster from last season has turned over, but two players will be making a return to the club for their final year – Mastrosimone and defenseman Matteo Pietroniro.
The Chicago Steel, a year removed from a United States Hockey League Clark Cup championship, will give it another try when the team begins its season Sept. 27 with road games against the Lincoln Stars and the Des Moines Buccaneers.
The Steel’s home opener is Oct. 5 at the Fox Valley Ice Arena against Cedar Rapids.
The Steel will play half of its 60-game schedule on home ice.
“It left a bad taste in our mouths after losing the series to Team USA in the playoffs last year,” said Mastrosimone, a forward. “But I think it gave the guys who were coming back this year even more motivation to go even farther in the playoffs this coming season. It will not be easy to get there for sure.”
It took the Steel until the last regular-season game of the year to get into the USHL Clark Cup playoffs last season. This year, the Steel feel they have the right mix of players to get there.
“We have a great mix of guys here who all get along really well,” Mastrosimone said. “This year I think it will be easier for me to adjust to the grind of a 60-game schedule. It will be easier for me to help the younger guys on the team adjust to a season at this level. It’s a very tight group this year. Everyone has bought into this new system from coach [Greg] Moore.”
The Steel, who had two coaches last year, brought Moore aboard from the NHL’s Boston Bruins organization.
“The mission statement of the Steel was what really was intriguing to me, which is why I took the position,” Moore said. “My role will be to develop not only the players to get them to move onto college hockey, but also to help develop my assistant coaches. If we develop our players correctly, we should be winning games.”
Moore is most excited about the team’s depth.
“We have no drop-off of talent from our top lines to our fourth line,” he said.
“For me, it will be about how we attack each week in terms of developing players and how can we get better each week.”