The Blue Hens ended their three game road trip on the right foot. They managed to beat Lebanon Valley 3-2 after a close shootout.
It took a while for the two normally high scoring teams to get on the board. Through the first two periods of play, neither team could grab a goal.
It was not for lack of effort, as both teams got plenty of shots off in the first two periods. Lebanon Valley managed 21 shots in the first two periods, while Delaware fired 17 shots.
However, in the third period, the scoring finally began for the Blue Hens. Nick Ustaski fired a shot off and Lebanon Valley goaltender Chase Wilson could not handle the rebound. Leo Skehan was able to score his third goal of the season.
Lebanon Valley would respond. With about 5 minutes left in the third period, Lebanon Valley’s star Joey Labonte scored his 13th goal of the season. Lebanon Valley would score again only two minutes later to give themselves the 2-1 lead with less than three minutes left in the third period.
On the next faceoff, Blue Hen captain Steve Braun took the puck and gave it to Forward Corey Leskanic. Leskanic found Senior Matthew Gumina crashing the net and Gumina was able to send the game into overtime.
Neither team was able to score in the 5 minutes of overtime, so the game was sent into a shootout. The only goal scored in the shootout was from Blue Hen Freshman Max Freeman, who also assisted the first goal.
Senior Matthew Gumina’s timely goal is what ended up giving the Blue Hens the momentum late in the game. He was in our Senior Spotlight this week, and said the seniors have to do the little things for this team to be successful. In Friday’s game, he was not only doing the little things for the Blue Hens to be successful, but he also came up huge when the team needed a leader most.
Sophomore goalie Dylan Troiano continues to be a dominant force in net. He saved 31 of the 33 shots he faced. He also managed to stop all 21 of Lebanon Valley’s shots in the first and second periods.
The Blue Hens are now nine points behind second place Rhode Island in the ESCHL standings. They still have two games to play against each other, and you can expect those games to be hard fought.
Saturday’s game started out well for the Blue Hens. The Blue Hens Sophomore John Redgate scored his seventh goal of the season to give them the early 1-0 lead. “I just kind of grinded down low because I knew our work on the power play wasn’t going so well,” said Redgate about the goal. “We got the puck to the net, Freeman kept it alive and it kind of just popped into my stick. I was just in the right place and I was like thanks I’ll take that goal.”
Lebanon Valley would then dominate the game. They scored four unanswered goals, three in the second that completely turned the game upside down. Zachary McKown picked up an assist on the first goal, and then got a couple of his own to make it 12 goals for the season.
At the end of the second period, the Blue Hens would regain the initiative. Blue Hen forward Leo Skehan fired a shot, and Lebanon Valley goaltender Chase Wilson could not handle the rebound. Blue Hen defender Alex Guerere was able to crash the net and bury the huge goal that made the game 4-2.
Redgate said he thought the momentum started to shift “when we scored our second goal late in the second period. I think we began picking each other up in the locker room telling each other its only a two goal game.”
Blue Hens coach Rocky Romanella said in the post game interview he felt an early third period goal would be huge for the team. Just over a minute into the third period, they got that goal. Leo Skehan scored his 7th goal of the season to make it a 4-3 game.
All signs seemed to be pointing towards a Blue Hens fourth goal. With over 18 minutes left in the third, they certainly had the time to get the goal. But the goal never came for the Blue Hens, as they came up short 4-3.
The Blue Hens will get one more chance to beat an ESCHL opponent when they play West Chester on Sunday. The puck is expected to drop for that match up at 2:00 PM.
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick