The Blue Hens came out with their first sweep of the season as they took down the US Naval Academy. They enjoyed victories both away and at the home opener on Saturday, October 7th. Friday night, the team played the Naval Academy Midshipmen at the McMullen Ice Arena in Annapolis, Maryland. Saturday afternoon, the boys kicked off their home opener right here in Newark, Delaware at the Fred Rust Ice Arena.
The starting lineup for Friday night’s game was #28 Cole Zucker, #32 Ethan Docking, #26 Brian Ostrander, #5 Harrison Good, #24 Mike Zidansek, and #30 Stephen East in the net. Puck drop was at 7:30pm. The game had a slow start, both teams struggling to find the back of the net. The Blue Hens stayed in control, working to defend against power plays and penalties. It seemed as though the first period was going to end with no score for either team, but #12 Colin Emerich pushed through, finding the back of the net for his first goal as a Delaware Blue Hen. On his goal, Emerich said, “It was great to get my first one as a Blue Hen. Probably one of the easiest goals I’ve ever scored but to get the first one out of the way and for it to help the team get the win makes it that much better.” The first period ended with Blue Hens in the lead, 1-0.
The second period went by smoothly with Delaware staying in control of the puck. They struggling to find the net but kept their lead..The second period ended, the score remaining 1-0. With the third period underway, the Blue Hens took a penalty but managed to defend the goal and prevent Navy from scoring. Capitalizing off of a power-play, forward #15 Shane Mullin scored with an assist from #28 Cole Zucker and #22 Michael Nisky. The boys could’ve stopped there, but they didn’t, raising the score again with only 2:14 left in the third with a goal from #26 Brian Ostrander, and another assist from #28 Zucker. The Hens finalized the score and took the win, 3-0 with a shut-out from goalie Stephen East. Despite some slow moments for the team, they held it together to take a victory for the night. After the game, freshman #26 Brian Ostrander shared his thoughts with me, “Going into the game Friday, we knew they were going to be a hard working team so we couldn’t take them lightly. We were able to outplay them most of the game but couldn’t find the back of the net. Being up 1-0 going into the second, we knew we needed some assurance and we were finally able to find the back of the net twice in the third, securing a 3-0 win,” Colin Emerich said, “We were in their end a majority of the first period and just couldn’t seem to finish. I got a lucky bound on my goal and we went in after with the 1 point lead. The rest of the game we controlled most of the play as well, pucks just weren’t going in but we kept battling and were able to come out with the 3-0 win with two late goals. When asked how Friday affected their plan for Saturday, Ostrander added, “Going into Saturday, we knew they were going going to come even harder following a loss so the game plan was to get out to a good start and take them out of the game early, and ride that momentum throughout.”
Saturday’s game was an exciting one for Delaware because it was the first home game of the season. Puck drop was at 4pm at the Fred Rust Ice Arena in Newark, Delaware. After their loss yesterday, the Naval Academy was itching for a redemption. Sophomore Kevin Felice said, “Tensions were high. Navy definitely brought their A-game.” This was no setback for the Blue Hens.
#28 Cole Zucker set the tone with only 6:45 gone by in the first period by scoring his first goal of the game, putting Delaware in the lead. The boys kept it coming with a short-handed goal by #5 Harrison Good, assisted by #12 Colin Emerich and #16 Kevin Felice, making the score 2-0 moving into the second.
The second period was intense – the Naval Academy brought a challenge. The Blue Hens maintained their lead, but the Naval Academy wasn’t going to make it easy. With 4:17 remaining in the 2nd period. Navy scored right after going on the power play, making the score 2-1. The Midshipmen were coming close, but Zucker snipped that short, scoring his second goal of the game with 1:26 left in the first.
Coming into the third period, the score was 3-1, Delaware. The goal for the third period was to keep the lead. #13 Chris Mazzella helped make this happen by cashing in on an assist from #22 Mike Nisky, putting Delaware even further in the lead at 4-1. Both teams were fighting and penalties were frequent. At 4:24 left in the game, Delaware took a ten minute major for fighting and roughing. With almost a minute left in the third period, Navy scored a goal, making the final score 4-2. The game ended as a Blue Hen victory and a sweep for the weekend!
#5 Harrison Good shared his thoughts on the game saying, “We got a little lackadaisical towards the end, a little too cocky and we let one through at the end.” Nisky added, “Overall it was a good game, both teams played hard. It’s much better to have the home advantage because the rink is bigger and it’s more of a challenge for opponents who aren’t familiar with our rink.”
The Blue Hens are back home on Friday night to take on the NYU Violets for their promotional game, “UD Hockey Goes Greek. UD Hockey would like to invite all Greek organizations on campus to come to their game. It will count as a CAP point, so make sure you come on out to support the team, and be sure to follow all of our social media pages for updates!
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Written By: Daniella Fioretti