This past weekend, the University of Delaware hockey team faced its strongest challenge yet when they traveled to Arizona to play #1 Arizona State University Sun Devils twice before playing #11 University of Arizona once.
The first game of the road trip on October 24 did not go as planned as the Blue Hens were plagued with penalties and poor decisions. The Sun Devils jumped out to an early 2-0 lead until Mark Zeszut scored a shorthanded goal after a beautiful pass from Christopher Voloninno. After that, it was all Sun Devils as they scored five consecutive goals. Delaware scored a power play goal half way through the third period but it would not be enough as the game concluded with a 7-2 loss.
The following night, the game was a much closer contest. The first period ended with the Sun Devils leading 1-0 despite the Blue Hens killing off a 5 minute major penalty. The second period was just as close but neither team could capitalize on their chances, so the score remained the same going into the final period. The Sun Devils scored early to start off the third period but the Blue Hen power play finally capitalized on an opportunity as Alex Guerere jammed it home after an offense draw. With less than 12 minutes remaining the Sun Devils took a one goal lead, but Delaware was able to force overtime thanks to a strong end-to-end effort by Wes Bonnell. Despite the resilient effort and great goaltending by Pat Rochefort, the Blue Hens fell in overtime as the Sun Devils cashed in on an odd man rush with two minutes remaining.
To end the road trip, the team traveled to Tuscan on October 26 to battle against the University of Arizona Wildcats. Delaware came out hot with three first period goals including a Power Play goal from Marcello DeAngelis and two goals from Mark Zeszut that were a mere 8 seconds apart. The second period would tell a different story as the Wildcats were able to score four consecutive goals with two being on the power play. Fortunately, the Blue Hens were able to tie the game at 4-4 with a late period power play goal by Alex Guerere to end the second period. The final period of the game, and of the road trip, would be defined by new players stepping up to the occasion. Freshman goaltender Dylan Troiano shut the Wildcats out while Matt Margolis and Adam Lynch scored their first goals in a Delaware uniform. The final goal of the game was scored by Joe Bastone on a great short side shot, capping off a 7-4 win.
Next weekend the team travels to the University of Rhode Island in hopes of gaining two wins against an always competitive league rival.