University of Delaware’s ACHA Division I Men’s Hockey team faced the Rutgers University Ice Knights this past weekend. The team played Friday night’s game at our home rink in Newark, Delaware, celebrating a promotional night where all first responders were recognized for the work they do for our community, “Police and Firefighter Night.”

Friday night’s game started at 6:15, and ended in a loss for the Blue Hens. The starting lineup for the game included #12 Colin Emerich, #28 Cole Zucker, #26 Brian Ostrander, #24 Mike Zidansek, #6 Harrison Chuma and #30 Stephen East in the net.  Rutgers set the tone for the game with an early goal approximately 2 minutes into the first period. Only a few minutes later, they extended their lead with another goal making the score 2-0 with 12:57 left in the first. Rutgers closed out the first with a two goal lead. The second period underway, the Ice Knights maintained their lead, until freshman forward, #8 Cam Piorkowski, cashed in on a scoring opportunity generated by forwards #13 Chris Mazzella and #22 Michael Nisky, giving the Blue Hens one on the board with 6 minutes and 13 seconds left in the second period. The second period ended with shots on goal to 10-8 Rutgers and a score of 2-1. Going into the final period of regulation, the boys were not able to pull together their efforts to make a dent in the Rutgers lead. In the third period, Rutgers was able to put two more in the net, one with 18:22 left and the other with 5:46 left in regulation. The final score was 4-1.

After the game, junior defenseman #24 Mike Zidansek shared his thoughts, “We didn’t come out with any heart for Friday night’s game. The game was flat from the start and we need to have a better jump on Saturday.” #2 Andrew Marciniak, a freshman defenseman, added, “There was an overall lack of energy on the ice and the bench. There were spurts of good action but we weren’t able to pull it together and score.”

Puck drop on Saturday was 3:30 pm at the ProSkate Ice Arena in New Jersey. The Blue Hens were ready for redemption, and the starting lineup was #10 Drew Torrey, #19 Andrew Corapi, #15 Shane Mullin, #23 Devin Jenny, and #37 Jack Zimmer. Between the pipes was #1 Chris Ponticello. The team played hard the first period, working to make openings for goals. The first period ended with both teams tied at zero. 2 minutes into the start of the second, captain, #28 Cole Zucker, capitalized off an opportunity to put one past the Rutgers goalie, and put Delaware in the lead 1-0. Rutgers was able to tie up the score with fourteen minutes left in the second. However, #15 Shane Mullin cashed in on another opportunity, scoring for the Blue Hens and putting Delaware back in the lead. The game was tight and Rutgers was able to tie the score again at 2 with 8:22 left in the second period. The teams went into the third period tied until an assist from #21 Mike “Skip” Redgate allowed #22 Michael Nisky a clear shot to the net. With 12:52 left in the third, Nisky scored the game winner, finalizing the score 3-2.

After the game, Skip shared, “The team really needed that win. We hit a low on Friday after we thought we had re-grouped in practice. I️t was great to see our team come back after such a bad loss. Everyone contributed, especially including Ponticello Nisky, Zimmer and Mullin, who all had great games.” Mullin shared his thoughts on the game as well, and said, “I thought we played a great game Saturday. We created a lot of scoring opportunities and playing a full 60 minutes of hockey. Ponti made some key saves for us which led us to victory.”

This upcoming weekend, the Delaware Blue Hens will be playing the Robert Morris University of Pennsylvania Colonials at the Fred Rust Arena in Newark, Delaware.

 

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Written By: Daniella Fioretti