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Fauci carries a good tune for Laker defense



Ren Fauci

Feb. 21, 2004

By Lindsey Mechalik, LSSU Sports Information intern

Winters in Sault Ste. Marie can be long and harsh, with lots of snow and frigid winds. For Laker sophomore Ren Fauci, a New Jersey native, knowing that he will spend much of the upcoming summer on the Jersey Shore beach makes the winter a little more bearable.

"I really like to go down to the Jersey Shore in the summer," Fauci said. "It is probably my favorite thing to do. We go down to the beach and hang out. It is a totally different atmosphere. Only the people from New York, Long Island, and New Jersey know about it. We usually go every weekend. We work during the week, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday we will be down at the Shore. I have friends that have houses down there."

Even though Fauci spends a lot of his summer on the beach, he always remains focused on staying in top shape.

"In the summer I really like to work out," Fauci said. "It is a definite priority to me. My entire day revolves around my workouts."

The harsh winter weather is not the only aspect of Sault Ste. Marie that came as a big shock to Fauci. Sault Ste. Marie is the first place he has ever lived that has not been in or near a large city. The small-town atmosphere and size has taken some time to get used to.

"Weather is the hardest part about adjusting to Sault Ste. Marie," Fauci said. "Some days I will wake up and it will be snowing, and it just won't stop. It is such a small town where everyone knows everybody. The small-town atmosphere has its ups and downs. Sometimes when you want to keep something to yourself, it is hard because everyone is so close. But that is also a definite plus. Everyone here is so nice and willing to help you out, compared to back home, where people can have an attitude."

During his time at home, Fauci frequently travels into New York City, which is only about a 40-minute drive from his house. Working on Wall Street would be an after-hockey dream job for Fauci, a business management major.

The 6-3, 195-pound defenseman spent his junior career in "the Second City." Before coming to Lake State, Fauci played for the Chicago Freeze of the North American Hockey League.

"I loved living in Chicago," Fauci said. "It was a great experience, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. My billet family was unbelievable. I am still very close with them, and talk to them all of the time. They have come to some of my games. They usually travel to Notre Dame and have come up here once this year already. They made my time in juniors a really good experience"

While playing for the Freeze, Fauci was selected to play in the Top Prospects Tournament in 2002. It is a "King of the Hill" tournament where the North American Hockey League, United States Hockey League and American West Hockey League pick their best players to play against each other to have a claim at the best league title. In 2001, Fauci and the Freeze also placed third in the Junior A Gold Cup.

Fauci's mom and dad have have had a large impact on his hockey career. His mother, Denise, works as an assistant manager at a tennis and fitness club. Reynold, his father, manages a local rink five minutes from his house.

"My dad has been working at the rink since before I was born," Fauci said. "He is definitely the reason I started skating. They first put me on skates when I was 1 1/2 and I hated it. They didn't push me to do it. When I was about 3 1/2 they put me back on skates and I loved it. I have been skating ever since. The biggest plus of my dad working at the rink was I got to skate all of the time growing up. When the rink was closed for holidays, I could go to the rink, and invite my friends and play pick-up hockey.

"In the summer I work at the same rink doing maintenance," Fauci said. "There are three rinks. In the summer they take the main rink down for circuses, art shows or car shows. I help out doing repairs all summer long. It's great because I get to be at the rink all of the time and get to do a lot of skating."

After spending his entire life in big cities, a great question to ask Fauci is how he ended up choosing a school like Lake Superior State.

"It was at the beginning of my second season in Chicago that I started talking to Coach Anzalone and Coach Roque," Fauci said. "Everything that they said made me feel like I wanted to be a part of Lake State tradition. I wanted to be a part of the rebuilding. The CCHA has always been known as some of the best hockey for college. I had heard that Coach Anzalone will get the most out of you. Because of all that, I decided to come here and be a part of it."

Last year Fauci proved to be an important part of the rebuilding process. Along with junior defensemen Ryan Reid, he led the defense in points with three goals and four assists. Fauci also tied a school record for most goals by a defensemen in a game when he scored twice at Notre Dame (2/22/03).

"I was pretty shocked when I found out that I had tied the school record by scoring twice in one game," Fauci said. "I only found out when I was looking on our website at some of the records, and I saw my name."

Along with his teammates, Fauci can see the great deal of progress the team has made since last year.

"My favorite point of this season is the direction that we are going compared to last year," Fauci said. "I think the team has made leaps and bounds. We are more mature than last year. You can see that now we are moving in the right direction. More of our games are much closer than they were last year. We see that we have chances where we can win. Sometimes we make some mistakes, but they are mistakes that we can hopefully correct easily and won't be making next year.

"We definitely have the possibility to be winning some games towards the end of the season. When we play Northern we will hopefully be moving in full motion. It is a definite plus that we will be having our strongest point of the season going into playoffs. Whoever we play in the first round, we will definitely be looking to upset them."

Fauci realizes that a lot more expected from him this season compared to his rookie season.

"As a freshman, you get more leeway," he said. "If you make a mistake, you can get away with it a little easier. As a sophomore, Coach is a little more critical on us if we make mistakes because we should know since we have the experience of being in the league for a year. At the same time, we do have that experience of knowing what teams are like and knowing the pace of the game. We have that advantage over when we were freshmen. We also are not as intimidated when we travel to some of the bigger arenas."

Traveling in one of the biggest advantages of playing college hockey. Last year, the Lakers made the long trip to Alaska. For Fauci, the trip was a great experience but left some unfriendly repercussions.

"The trip to Alaska was pretty tough," Fauci said. "When we came home from the trip, I had trouble sleeping for two weeks. The time schedule completely messed me up. I would wake up at four in the morning completely wide-awake. It was tough, but overall getting to go to Alaska was a really great experience. I don't know what messed up my sleep so bad, if it was that the sun never completely rose or set. But even with the sleep problems, it was a good experience."

Many players have pre-game rituals. For Fauci, listening to music is an important way to get into a competitive mind-set.

"I like to stay loose until about 15 minutes before going on the ice," Fauci said. "When that time comes, I like to listen to my music and finish getting ready. I just started going out to sit on the bench before games this year. I like to get out of the locker room and focus on my own. I think that is going to become one of my rituals now too."

Music is not only a part of Fauci's pre-game ritual, but is a large part of his everyday life. Most days Fauci can be seen walking around campus with his headphones on listening to his favorite music.

"I am always listening to music," Fauci said. "Everyone always asks me what I am listening to. It is a variety, everything from club, to hip-hop, to Blink 182. I always have something different. I really don't have a favorite type, and I have way too many favorite songs to choose just one. Music puts me in a good mood, and what I listen to depends on what mood I am in. It helps me to get through the day. When I am at home, my radio is always going. When I am listening to music it helps me focus, and block everything else out.

"Coach Anzalone asked me how many batteries I went through last year. He was guessing around 60. I must have a really good CD player because it doesn't use up batteries that quickly. I have only gone through like six batteries this year."



Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
 
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