The University of Delaware Blue Hens faced the University of Rhode Island Rams this weekend. After a big triumph for the Blue Hens on Friday evening, URI carried the heat on Saturday and managed a split series. It was an intense weekend, to say the least.
Friday night was our annual Hockey Goes Greek promotional night. All Greek organizations were invited to support their favorite Blue Hens as they took on the Rams. The starting lineup for Delaware consisted of #1 Chris Ponticello in goal, defensemen #24 Mike Zidansek and #19 Jake DeFares, and forwards #22 Mike Nisky, #26 Brian Ostrander and #13 Chris Mazzella.
Friday night’s first goal appeared late in the first period from URI’s Danny Ryan. The Blue Hens didn’t tie up the game until the last minute in the second period when a goal from Nisky, off of Ostrander and Mazzella, went past the Ram’s goalie, John Ketzenberger. A minute later, the Rams responded with a goal of their own, taking the lead again. Delaware’s #6 Harrison Chuma scored his first goal with the Blue Hens, tying the scoreboard at 10:18 minutes into the second period. Delaware didn’t give URI a chance to answer back as Mazzella, capitalizing off of a pass from #23 Devin Jenny and #16 Kevin Felice, put Delaware forward with a goal 10:41 minutes into the second. Rhode Island matched the score with another goal, tying the game for the third time that evening, 3-3. Nisky took the opening from teammates #7 Jack Zimmer and Mazzella to put one in the URI goal, his second of the night.
The score going into the third period was 4-3, Delaware. Mazzella remedied this five minutes into the third period, shooting his second of the night off of Nisky and #12 Colin Emerich. The Rams found themselves unable to catch up and lost the opportunity when Delaware’s #37 Gavin Hulser scored off of an assist from Felice. The final score was 6-3.
“We felt the winning vibe and ran with that feeling to a victory. We have to acknowledge that when we come together and play the way we want to, we are a force to be reckoned with.” Gavin Hulser
After the game Friday, goalie Chris Ponticello shared his thoughts on the game, “Tonight was a great team effort and definitely a fun game to play in. We got a lot of contribution from our top two lines and the rest of our team was able to build off that to keep the momentum on our side of the ice. It’s always a good battle with URI, but Friday we showed that we were the much better team. I’m hoping that the work ethic and will to win we had Friday is something we can apply to our games for the rest of the season.”
Saturday’s game consisted of the same back-and-forth ties as Friday, but this time ended with URI on top. Right from the 5:25 pm puck drop, the tone was set for an intense game with the first goal of the night at only a minute into the period from URI. A few minutes later, when The Rams’ #17 Jake Salisbury took a penalty for tripping, Nisky took advantage of the power play to generate a goal and tie the score at 1. With five minutes left in the period, the Rams’ Danny Caruso scored an unassisted shorthanded goal to bring them into the lead, 2-1. Right when it looked like Delaware was going to enter the second period trailing behind, #25 Jake Nimeh, assisted by captain #24 Mike Zidansek, put one into the URI net with only 30 seconds left in the first period.
The second period was tied at 2, but not for long. Thirty seconds in, a goal from URI put them a goal ahead. 5 minutes later, Mazzella, his third of the weekend, cashed in on an assist from Nisky –obviously a power duo– and tied the score again at 3-3. Halfway through the period, the Rams were able to pull ahead again with another goal, leaving the Blue Hens behind moving into the third, 4-3.
Another goal from URI brought the score to 5-3. The power couple, Nisky off of Mazz, pulled out another goal to cut the URI lead to 5-4, but the team was unable to tie the game before the end of regulation. The final score was 5-4 Rhode Island.
“As a team, we didn’t play with enough intensity. We lacked our competition level for some of our shifts. Rhode Island deserves some credit, they outworked us for all three periods and that’s why they came out on top. Practice this week needs to be very up-tempo, with guys having a sense of desperation. I think as a group we need to work harder Monday through Saturday, and that all starts with accountability.” – Jake Nimeh
Next weekend, the boys will be on the road to face Temple University on Friday, November 16 and Towson University on Saturday, November 17. Keep up with the team even while they travel through our social media accounts!
Article Written by Daniella Fioretti
Photograph taken by Julianna Hansen-Fliedner