KINGSTON, R.I. — Jan 31, 2019 — Games 999 and 1,000 didn’t turn out too well for University of Rhode Island men’s club hockey coach Joe Augustine and his players.
But game 1,002 was a different story, especially since 1,100 fans, dozens of URI men’s hockey alumni and family and friends turned out to honor Augustine for reaching the 1,000-game milestone a week before.
They not only had a chance to applaud Augustine, they saw the second win of a two-game set with Delaware. The 1-0 thriller featured great goaltending, end-to-end action, crunching hits and a blistering one-timer into the bottom right corner by defenseman Alex Lund for the only tally of the game.
“There isn’t much to celebrate when you don’t win,” Augustine said while surrounded by players, friends and family on the ice following the victory at the Boss Arena.
He was referencing the previous weekend, when his team dropped two to Buffalo, including the second game of the series, which was Augustine’s 1,000th game.
On Saturday, Jan. 26, Augustine and hundreds lingered on the ice and during a post-game party to soak it all in. In the locker room after the game, Augustine, said to his team, “We had to grind it out today, and we worked hard. We picked some big points this weekend.”
“I was just trying to hit the net,” Lund said of his game-winning goal. “The puck came off the left boards, and I just turned on it at the top of the faceoff circle. I screamed at the top of my lungs when it went in. It was my first college goal,” the Lake Grove, N.Y. junior said.
Meanwhile, throughout the game and especially in the third period, sophomore goalie Dan DaSilva kept the Blue Hens off the board with numerous big saves.
“I felt like I was having a good game, like I was really feeling it. Our defense did a great job blocking shots as well,” the Syosset, N.Y. resident said.
In the locker room after the game, when it was just the coach and his players, goal scorer Lund presented Augustine with a customized stick made by friend and former professional hockey player Buzz Deschamps. It was emblazoned with his name and date of his 1,000th game. In pre-game ceremonies, representatives from the American Collegiate Hockey Association, USA Hockey, the URI Hockey Alumni Association and URI’s Division of Student Affairs, presented Augustine with various mementos to mark the 1,000-game milestone.
Brian Moran, the Division 1 commissioner for the ACHA, and Roger Grillo, of USA Hockey and former Brown head coach, presented a Team USA jersey, which had “1 K” written on the back, to Augustine. It was Moran’s first time at the Boss Arena, which he called a beautiful facility.
“I have been the commissioner for 20 years, and I was there in 2006 to present Joe and his team with the national championship trophy when they defeated Penn State,” Moran said. “Joe is a great guy who is passionate about working with kids. I had the honor of working with him when he coached Team USA in the World University Games. When you first meet Joe, you think he is so quiet. But as you get to know him, you find he has hundreds of great stories.”
Bradford R. Boss, for whom the Boss Arena is named and who was one of the founders of the URI men’s ice hockey club in 1951, was in the stands surrounded by his children, their spouses and grandchildren. He also participated in the pre-game ceremonies. His son Andy, also a URI alumnus, played on Augustine’s first team. Boss beamed as he looked around at the great turnout, especially by the students.
“It’s fantastic, and shows how much respect people have for Joe,” said Boss. “What he has done for URI hockey and the University is beyond measure.”
Brandon Kape, a 2006 URI graduate in finance, was the captain of the 2006 national championship team. He was there for a huge group picture at the end of the game with current players and coaches, former coaches and other supporters.
“I came back because coach was a great influence on my life,” said Kape, now Augustine’s financial advisor. “He made me a better person, better businessman and hopefully a better parent. They were the best four years of my life. It was very hard, very demanding, but coach didn’t do that because he wasn’t a nice guy, it’s because he wanted us to win,” Kape said.
“Our entire national championship team could have played D3 or lower level D1, we were that good.”
Kathy Collins, vice president for Student Affairs; Joe Wilbur, coordinator of club sports and Rhody presented Augustine with a plaque on behalf of the University.
“The University offers its huge congratulations on all of his accomplishments,” Collins said. “He has not only coached 1,000 games, but I am sure he has had an impact on thousands of young people. He is a teacher who helps his players learn how to work effectively in groups, how to be patient and how to shoot for big goals.”
After all of the pre-game ceremonies, it was fitting that Augustine, his wife, Jewell, daughter Jaclyn and son Jon, were the last to leave the ice before the start of the game.
“He just loves hockey and the kids,” said Jewell, a former member of the Ice Capades who met Joe at the former Lynch Arena in Pawtucket when he was a high school coach and she was giving skating lessons. “Joe asked the rink manager who I was, and I asked the rink manager who Joe was. He was the one who introduced us. Joe always wants to win, but as he has gotten older, he focused more on what he can do for his players. They are a reflection of him.”