Both Ben Rosen and Sean Escobedo are on Long Island this week for the beginning of Sound Tigers training camp. Some players are meeting each other for the first time, but no such introductions were necessary for Rosen and Escobedo; the two were not only teammates at Boston University for the last four years, but roommates for two of them, as well.
“Ben and I were real close through college,” Escobedo said. “We lived together for two years and formed a pretty close friendship. We had classes together so we were with each other a lot, so when I signed, it was a good feeling knowing that I’d be up here with him. “
Both Escobedo and Rosen signed following the completion of their senior season. Rosen, a Syosset, NY native, has been at IceWorks, the Islanders practice facility, since he was 16. Escobedo is also familiar with the area, hailing from Bayside, NY.
“It’s great to be a part of this organization,” Rosen said. “Iceworks is a mile-and-a-half from my house, the Coliseum is 20 minutes away. So it’s really cool to be here.”
The two players both arrived at BU as defensemen in 2009-2010, though Rosen made the transition to center following his sophomore season. When their collegiate careers ended, both signed two-way, ECHL/AHL contracts. Rosen inked his deal immediately after the season and played one game for Bridgeport.
“I thought it was great,” Rosen said of last year's brief stint with the Sound Tigers. “It was a great experience for me even though I only got into one game. I was there for a couple weeks so I got to know the guys and the coaches as the year went on. I think the coaches got to know me and know my game and see my work ethic.”
Escobedo, meanwhile, signed shortly after Islanders development camp in July. Though they used to wear the red-and white of BU, the transition to blue-and-orange has been a smooth one.
“It’s definitely nice to have him out there,” Escobedo said of Rosen. “If you make a bad pass he’s always there to pick you up and telling you to keep going. It’s good because I know his tendencies so I’m comfortable out there on the ice with him. “
For Escobedo, having a former teammate with him in camp was especially helpful in keeping him loose.
“It helps you break the ice because the first time we’re all out here you might not know everyone,” Escobedo said. “The first day, everyone’s nervous because you’re out with new guys and skating in front of the coaching staff. He was definitely a calming influence on me and hopefully I was on him, too.”
Now that camp is underway, Rosen is excited to be back on the ice for his first full season as a professional.
“It’s good to get here,” Rosen said. “This is really our first good, hard skate of camp. It’s good to get our legs going. The other groups have been going for a while so it’s good to get our legs under us here start touching the puck a lot.”
He’s also hoping to take the time at camp to make even more strides in the upcoming season.
“The main thing is playing positionally and doing your job well,” Rosen said. “I’m not going to play as a first-liner, I’m going to try to play as a third or fourth-line guy, do my job well, play well defensively and make sure I’m doing my job out there. I want to make sure nothing happens in my defensive zone when I’m out there and if something happens offensively, that’s a positive, too.”
If both players take Rosen’s words to heart, they’ll continue together on the path they’ve been for the past four years.