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“Coach was saying ‘Hey, I didn’t really think I played that big of a part into it,’ ” senior defenseman Matt Vernam said. “If that’s something your players haven’t told you before and you don’t know that, you can’t really react to it.”

Now Sowell can, and everyone in the program should have a better understanding of each other in the future. That by itself might be the greatest contribution from this season’s team toward the Mids’ long-term aims of again becoming an NCAA tournament regular.

“This year I think is crucial,” Reynolds said. “It had to happen regardless, and we were just the senior class it fell onto. If years down the road or even next year, they look back and see the difference and compare 2012 to 2013 or 2014, I don’t mind being that class that set the stone for the future of this program. I think that’s a huge impact.”