1980-81 Disaster Strikes

This was the year to make or break Ramapo in the now twenty-six team ECAC Division III. After three consecutive losing seasons, the Roadrunners needed to turn things around. Unfortunately, the schedule was the most difficult in the team’s history. First¬ time opponents included Penn State University, Canisius College, St. John’s University, and Connecticut College. In spite of the schedule, Ramapo’s hopes were high since there were sixteen returning lettermen, the most since the 1975-76 “Super Team” squad.

In spite of the early optimism, the Roadrunners struggled from the start. Game one was a 5-5 tie against Quinnipiac. In game two, Army JV demolished Ramapo: 14-1. With Varsity players added to Army’s JV team, the Roadrunners were, not surprisingly, out¬ shot 69-13.

Ramapo never recovered from the devastating loss to Army. The team suffered through losing streaks of three (twice), four, and five games. After losses to Nichols, 7-4 and Fitchburg State, 9-3, Ramapo snapped the three-game losing streak by beating Upsala 5-2. Then, Trinity smashed Ramapo, 14-2, starting a four-game slide. Losses to Hobart 5-1, Canisius 7-0, and Iona 11-3 left the Roadrunners with a disastrous 1-7-1 start. A 9-5 victory over St. John’s broke the four-game losing streak. After a tough 4-3 loss to Penn State, the Roadrunners beat Pittsburgh 6-5 in overtime.

The second three-game losing streak of the season started with a 9-8 loss to St. John’s followed by a 10-3 trouncing a t the hands  of Fairfield. Nonetheless, the Roadrunners again set their sights on the upcoming Crab Pot Tournament.

Ramapo drew Penn State in the opening round, while Navy played West Chester State. The Roadrunners lost to Penn State 4-2 and for the first time had to settle for an appearance in the consolation round. West Chester, which lost to the Middies in the other opening round game, f ell easily to the Roadrunners 10-2.

The Roadrunners put together their only two con¬secutive wins of the season by defeating West Chester in Annapolis 10-2, and Queens College 9-0. From that point, Ramapo managed only one win in their last eight games. After a 5-0 whitewashing at the hands of Iona, the skid escalated. Ramapo lost to Upsala 5-2, Lehigh 8-6, Quinnipiac 8-6, and Fairfield 6-3. The five-game losing streak ended with a 5-3 win over Kean. In the only game against Trinity, the only matchup in which Ramapo provided any competition for Trinity, the Bantams won 5-4 in overtime. Although the Roadrunners played competitively, Trinity tied the game in the last minute of regulation time and scored on their first shot with only ten seconds gone in overtime. The most disappointing season in the team’s nine year history (6-18-1), came to an end with a 7-3 loss to Connecticut College. Ramapo finished twenty-fourth in the twenty-six team division at 2-15-1. It became evident that the advancement to the ECAC had been a premature move, as the team had amassed a meager 14-44-3 record in four seasons.

To add insult to injury, on May 29, 1981, Ramapo College’s administration dropped the hockey program, citing budgetary constraints. Letters poured in from players, parents, fans and other colleges and univer¬sities, including a strong letter of support from the United States Naval Academy, but the appeals fell on deaf ears. Many wondered if the institution would have been so eager to drop the team if it had been winning championships in the MCHC.