UD SWEEPS LIBERTY, SETS UP FOR SHOWDOWN WITH #1 PENN STATE
The #4 ranked Delaware Blue Hens continued their fantastic season this past weekend, November 11-13, in Lynchburg, Virginia, as they defeated the #8 Liberty Flames by scores of 3-0 and 4-2.
On Friday evening, the game got off to a fast and physical pace with Liberty having several good scoring chances early on. Goalie, SJ Broadt looked to be on top of his game early, as he bailed the Hens out of a few sloppy defensive sequences. Minutes before the end of the first period, the Hens were able to take the lead thanks a nifty backdoor pass from defenseman Chris Galgano to Vinny Pontrello. Pontrello collected the pass on the left side of the net and was able to put it past the Liberty goalie. The second period was another fast paced and physical period with the teams trading both powerplays and scoring chances. Neither Delaware nor Liberty was able to tack anything onto the scoreboard, and the game went into the third period with the Hens ahead 1-0. Midway through the third, the Pontrello-Menard-Miller line went to work for the Hens, and spent nearly a minute in the Liberty zone. After some impressive cycle work, Andre Menard fed Kevin Miller in the slot and Miller buried a shot past the Liberty goalie to give Delaware a 2-0 lead. With the 2 goal lead, Delaware dug in defensively and tried to hold on to the victory. Liberty was able to muster a few good chances, but again SJ Broadt closed the door. With just seconds remaining, and the Liberty goaltender pulled, Chris Volonnino picked up a loose puck in the defensive zone and fired it into the empty net to give Delaware a 3-0 win.
While the win on Friday night was nice, Delaware's work was not done, as they went for the series sweep on Saturday evening. The game started in a bizarre fashion, as prior to puck drop, a Liberty forward foolishly took out Vinny Pontrello's legs and received a penalty with not even a second ticking off the clock. Delaware was able to capitalize on the brutal Liberty penalty, as Mark Zeszut scored from the slot and gave Delaware a 1-0 lead just over a minute into the game. Delaware continued to take it to Liberty after the goal and extended their lead to 2-0 on a goal from Vinny Pontrello of a pretty passing sequence. After more stout goaltending from SJ Broadt during a brief flurry from Liberty, Delaware was able to score once more before
the end of the first, as Mike Piet buried a rebound from in tight and extended the Hens lead to 3-0 as the teams went into the locker room. The second period was a very up and down, physical frame, as both teams traded numerous power plays, but neither side was able to capitalize and Delaware still led 3-0 after 2 periods. Early in the third, Liberty was able to score its first goal of the weekend as they were finally able to solve Delaware goalie SJ Broadt who had not allowed a goal in the first five periods of the weekend series. Just minutes after Liberty got on the scoreboard, Delaware put the game away with a goal from Andre Menard. Menard received a pretty pass from
Mark Zeszut and buried from the bottom of the circle to put the Hens ahead comfortably 4-1. Liberty did add another goal on a well executed 2 on 1, but it was not enough, as Delaware held on to win 4-2.
The sweep over Liberty sets up a # 1 versus #2 showdown this weekend against Penn State. Penn State is undefeated thus far with some impressive wins over Illinois, Ohio, and Rhode Island. The Delaware players are certainly fired up and excited to have a chance to take down the #1 team in the nation ,"our goal from the beginning of the season was to be #1 and win the National Championship. Penn State is obviously a very good team, but we are confident that if we
play the way we can, we will be successful," senior forward Andre Menard said.