The Blue Hens finished the weekend facing another ESCHL opponent. They managed to split their two games against Lebanon Valley, with the win coming in a dramatic shootout. They managed a four-goal rally in the third period, but could not finish the comeback in the shootout losing 5-4.
West Chester managed to pounce on the Blue Hens early. Only 1:24 into the game, West Chester forward John Mango scored his fourth goal of the season to give them the early 1-0 lead.
They were not done there. Later in the first period, Ryan Evans was able to shock the Blue Hens again with his fourth goal of the season. The Blue Hens were trailing 2-0 heading into the first intermission.
Late in the second period, the Blue Hens committed a costly penalty. Manny Billones was able to score on the power play for West Chester to make the game 3-0. West Chester was then able to sneak another goal past the Blue Hens to make the score 4-0 heading into the second intermission.
The Blue Hens were in desperate need for a spark and they got it from senior defender JC Brancaccio. Less than a minute into the third period, Brancaccio got a big goal to make the game 4-1.
The goal started a huge third period rally for the Blue Hens. Less than a minute later, Ryan Pate scored his second goal of the season to make the game a reasonable 4-2 score.
It took about ten minutes to get their next goal. The Blue Hens went on the power play thanks to a minor against James Davis for high sticking. Vinny Zingarelli posted his 8th goal of the season to make it a 4-3 game.
With under a minute left in the third period Senior Matthew Gumina got another huge goal this weekend to tie the game up. On Friday, Gumina also managed to score the game-tying goal in the third period to send the game to overtime. The senior was a part of our Senior Spotlight this week, and ended up having one of his best weekends as a Blue Hen.
Neither team could score in the 5 minutes of overtime hockey. The game was then sent to a shootout. Eventually, Ryan Evans got the shootout goal that gave West Chester the win.
The Blue Hens managed 43 shots in the game compared to West Chester’s 27. They were dominant in the third period, where they managed to score all four of their goals.
The Blue Hens are still sitting at third place in the ESCHL standings despite the losses to division rivals Lebanon Valley and West Chester. They are, however, ten points behind second place Stony Brook for a first round bye in the ESCHL tournament.
The Blue Hens still have Rhode Island on their schedule, which they hope they can turn into a 6-point swing. Both of those games are a couple weeks from now.
Before they can get to Rhode Island, they will have to face 11th ranked Liberty University. Those games will take place in the Fred Rust Arena on January 30th January 31st.
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick