Updated: 02/24/2014 6:41 PM
Created: 02/21/2014 10:16 PM KAALtv.com
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- "Coming in, I just expected to have a good team and to make a run to the national tournament, because they always seem to do that," said forward Nick Paulson.
This year was the opposite for the Rochester Ice Hawks - a year full of us and downs, losing streaks, and too many one-goal losses.
"People around the town are used to a team that's only losing five games a year, and that's a completely different team," said defenseman Vinnie Susi.
The past two seasons, the Hawks have finished second in the standings. Before that, fans were accustom to seeing them in the top spot.
"We're used to having fun in the wins and losses, and this year we've had to find ways to take positives out of those loses, where in the past we'd lose a game and it was kind of end of the world-type behavior," said head coach Nick Fatis.
With only four regular season games left, and currently sitting in fifth place, the Hawks have found themselves in an uphill battle.
"We haven't beaten the Energy, but every single game we've played against them has been close. The past three times they've all been overtime and shootouts, so there's no reason we can't get a sweep this weekend," said forward Dan Trageser.
And even if they do win those four remaining games, there is still a chance they won't move up in the standings. Yet, the Hawks couldn't be more optimistic going into playoffs.
"I would say it's a clean slate. We do know we can beat these guys, so we don't forget that, but we do forget that they've beat us in the past," said Paulson.
"There are kids on the team who won't have a next season and you want to win for them and you also want to win for yourself. That's another year you can make it to the national championship," said Susi.