UD MEN'S ICE HOCKEY SWEEPS RHODE ISLAND AT HOME
The University of Delaware en's Ice Hockey Club improved to an impressive 8-0-1 record with a convincing sweep over the rival University of Rhode Island. The Hens were fired up over what they perceived as a slight in the latest rankings and took it to the Rams on both Friday and Saturday.
Prior to puck drop Friday night, the Delaware players learned that they were ranked #5 in the latest ACHA ranking period. The team was baffled that they could be two spots behind an Ohio team that they beat handily just two weeks ago by a score of 6-1. The Hens took their perceived slight out on the Rams and defeated them by scores of 5-2 and 6-2.
Friday, Delaware was paced by sophomore forward Christian Tasker, who recorded a hat trick and sophomore goalie SJ Broadt, who stopped 27 of 29 shots. Delaware looked to be in control of the game as they went into the 3rd period a head 3-0 on goals from Kevin Miller and two from Tasker. Tasker's second goal was a beauty as freshman defenseman Steven Braun retrieved a loose puck off of a defensive zone faceoff and fired a puck up the boards to a streaking Tasker in the neutral zone. Tasker beat the URI defenseman wide and fired the puck past the URI goalie on the short side.
With the game seemingly in doubt, the Hens came out very flat in the third period and let URI gain momentum. URI scored and cut into the Delaware lead midway through the third period, but Delaware responded less than two minutes later, as Ryan McDonald buried a rebound in front of the net for his 4th goal of the season and put Delaware ahead 4-1. Rhode Island continued to battle and scored to cut Delaware's lead to 4-2 with under 5 minutes to play. Delaware was finally able to put the icing on the cake with a half minute to play as Tasker scored his 3rd goal of the night thanks to an unselfish play from Ryan McDonald. McDonald had a semi breakaway with an empty net, but waited and slid the puck over to Tasker so that he could get the hat trick.
On Saturday, the game was feisty right from the puck drop, as the Rams desperately tried to avoid being swept in a weekend series by Delaware for the first time in five years. Delaware looked to have a lot of jump early Rhode Island jumped out to an early first period lead on a shot through a screen from the top of the faceoff circle. Delaware responded with two goals before the end of the first from Ryan McDonald and Chris Galgano and took a 2-1 lead into the locker room.
In the second period, Delaware came out strong again and controlled play, pinning URI in their own zone for minutes at a time. But, it was Rhode Island who was able to capitalize first, as poor coverage off of a defensive zone faceoff led to the Rams goal, which made it a 2-2 game. The Hens got the lead back on sophomore Collin Going's first of the season with minutes remaining in the second period. Going received a beautiful Mike Piet pass in the slot and blasted one over the goalie shoulder on behalf of the "UNIT".
With just 2 seconds remaining in the second period, URI was whistled for icing, giving Delaware an offensive zone faceoff. Delaware head coach MF Schurman called SJ Broadt to the bench, and put Chris Volonino right in front of the net. Vinny Pontrello was able to win the faceoff clean, directly to Kevin Miller who quickly threw the puck to the net. The puck looked to deflect off of a URI shin pad and found its way into the net with no time left on the clock. After some deliberation, the referees ruled that the puck crossed the line prior to the buzzer and the goal stood. An irate URI coach Joe Augustine charged onto the ice, and had some choice words for both the referees and clock operators, but to no avail, and Delaware went into the second intermission ahead 4-2.
The third period featured more good play from Delaware, as the Hens were able to tack on two goals thanks to sophomore Chris Voloninio. Volonino's first of the period was a beauty, as he picked up the puck in the neutral zone, beat a URI defenseman, and ripped a wrist shot from just a few steps over the blue line that beat the URI goalie. Delaware continued to dominate the third period, as the team was content with getting the puck deep and for checking with a 4 goal lead. The Hens were also smart by not getting involved with some of the extracurricular activity that a frustrated URI team was trying to engage in during the game's final minutes, as the game's outcome was clearly decided.
The Blue Hens are back in action this weekend in a rare Saturday-Sunday weekend series against new ESCHL foe #15 Stony Brook from Long Island. Saturday's game starts 8:10PM while the Sunday matinee is set for 11:40AM.