Blue Hens Split Weekend Against Navy

The Blue Hens came out of this weekend’s games with a tough split, after an extensive win on Friday and a close loss on Saturday. The University of Delaware D1 Men’s Hockey team spent Friday night at the Navy Academy’s home arena in Annapolis, Maryland, and then hosted the team at the Fred Rust Ice Arena in Newark, Delaware for Saturday’s game.

Friday night was a whirlwind of goals; eight different Blue Hens got one past Navy– a strong showcase of how talented the Blue Hens are. Friday night’s puck drop was at 7:30pm. Only five minutes into the first period, senior #20 Ian Anderson cashed in on assists from #22 Mike Nisky and #19 Jake Defares to produce the first goal of the night. Navy responded with a goal at the end of the first, tying the score at 1. Early in the second period, #16 Kevin Felice set the atmosphere with a goal off of #12 Colin Emerich and #26 Brian Ostrander, breaking the tie in Delaware’s favor, 2-1. An opportunity created by teammates #24 Mike Zidansek and #6 Harrison Chuma allowed #32 Ethan Docking to push the Blue Hen lead further with another goal. Delaware didn’t stop there – leading to a merciless game of back-to-back goals. Emerich capitalized off of an assist from Nisky, generating a score of 4-1. The lead was halved when a score from Navy came in as they struggled to save their game. Then, with two seconds left in the second period, Ostrander took advantage of a scoring opportunity from Emerich and #4 Michael Patterson, ending the second period with a 5-2 Delaware lead.

In the third period, Navy pulled it together to score a third goal, making the score 5-3. But the game of catch-up didn’t last long when a goal from #13 Chris Mazzella, his first of the night, went into the Navy net. The goal was assisted by Nisky and Emerich, a dangerous duo this game. At 17:29 seconds, #11 Tommy Cascone scored his first goal as a Blue Hen off of a pass from #4 Michael Patterson and #8 Cam Piorkowski.  Hardly two minutes later, the lead was pushed further by a first-timer goal from freshman #10 Ryan Burns. Burns capitalized off of assists from Docking and Chuma, ending the game with a final score of 8-3, a huge win  for the Blue Hens. 

“We’re finally starting to get our feet under ourselves. The young guys are finding their groove and stepping up to the plate in our lineups, which is helping us become a more cohesive team. Ponti had a great game in net keeping us alive against all those shots.” – Tommy Cascone 

Saturday’s game kept fans on the edge of their seats as Delaware and Navy volleyed back and forth on the scoreboard. The 5:25pm game started off with several penalties. A penalty on Navy opened the opportunity for Mazzella to score off a pass from Zidansek, bringing Delaware up one. Things were looking good for the Blue Hens when the first period ended with a 1-0 lead over Navy. In the second period, Navy wasted no time to get a response goal, tying the game 1-1. 2:27 into the second, Nisky broke the tie with a shorthanded goal assisted by Defares. Navy tied the game again with a goal at 5:06. Both teams couldn’t seem to stay out of the sin bin. Emerich, taking advantage of a penalty against Navy and assists from teammates Zidansek and Mazzella, brought the Blue Hens into the lead again, ending the second period 3-2.

Two penalties served by Delaware gave a chance for Navy to tie the game again at 3. The atmosphere was tense and both teams fought to break the tie. With three minutes left, the power struggle ended with a goal from Navy. The game ended with a final score of 4-3, a Navy win. Colin Emerich, after having a strong weekend on the ice, shared his insight on the weak points of Saturday’s game, “We played a decent game but couldn’t convert on our opportunities. We let them hang around with a one goal lead going into the third. We have to put a team further behind earlier in the game, otherwise we have outcomes like tonight.” When asked how the team should prepare for next weekend’s game, #2 Adrian Rodriguez responded, “We need to be more disciplined and limit the amount of penalties we take. During Saturday’s game, our power play was effective and generated a goal, and we intend on keeping it that way for upcoming games.”

This weekend, the Blue Hens will be up in West Chester, PA to match up against the West Chester University Rams. Puck drop is at 7:30pm at the Ice Line arena. Keep up with the team on our website and follow us on social media!

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Written by: Daniella Fioretti