By Daniel Reedy:
The saying goes “the best offense is good defense” and such is the case for San Jose State’s club hockey team.
Although they are both listed as defensemen, Schuyler Krawczuk and Christian Rendino have made their biggest impacts on offense.
Krawczuk leads the team in goals and assists despite being shifted from center to the blueline. The playmaker also ranks 20th in points recorded in SJSU history. Each of them has 63 career assists.
Krawczuk’s secret to his success in the offensive zone is vision.
“You’ve got to be able to have your head up and see all your options with the puck.” Krawczuk said. “Being fast will only get you so far.”
Of course, Krawczuk has no shortage of speed and excels at carrying the puck through the defense.
Just as dangerous with the puck and one point above him in career scoring is Rendino who has 130 points for the program.
Rendino is known for ripping shots from the point at a furious rate, leading to his 17 goals this season, good for second on the team. By taking plenty of outside shots, he creates several opportunities for the Spartans.
“I just try and hit the net,” Rendino said. “A lot of times goalies aren’t expecting a shot and you can catch them off guard. The rebounds will be sitting there for the forward.”
That sounds a lot like a player who is quite well-known in San Jose — Brent Burns.
Uncoincidentally, Burns is who Rendino imitates on the ice.
“[Burns] is just lethal from everywhere,” Rendino said. “If you can get the puck off your stick that quick, and that fast, and even place it in a good spot, you can score from just about anywhere.”
And Rendino can.
Rendino is now tied for 9th all time in goals scored for the Spartans and Krawczuk isn’t far behind, currently 11th.
However, with the game on the line, numbers 9 and 54 on the breakaway, who takes the shot?
Both players turn and look at each other.
“He is,” Krawczuk says as both players chuckle.
But they said it depends on who is hot and they communicate on the ice.
“He is better in the shootout,” Krawczuk said.
“Which is a surprise because he’s the forward,” Rendino said.
Unfortunately for SJSU, the team has a shortage of defensemen on the roster and has become increasingly reliant on both Krawczuk and Rendino; hence the moving of Krawczuk to defense.
His ability to play at both ends of the ice is inspired by Boston Bruins’ center Patrice Bergeron.
“[Bergeron] is a really good two-way player,” Krawczuk said. “He’s good defensively and he’s also good offensively.”
The Spartans’ program is certainly glad to have two players that can be so productive from a traditionally defensive position.
It was this program’s success that brought the two stars to SJSU.
“I just did some research online and saw that [SJSU] had a pretty amazing history,” Rendino said. “I am really happy with my decision.”
His highest-scoring teammate was also motivated to choose SJSU.
“Some of my favorite coaches played on this team,” Krawczuk said. “I would go games here and it was just a ton of fun.”
And for their teammates and fans, they are a ton of fun to watch too.