The Blue Hens had their first series at the Fred Rust of 2016 this weekend versus the Colorado State University Rams, and earned themselves a sweep! On Saturday the teams matched up at 5:15, and on Sunday, puck drop was at 3:30.
Saturday’s starting lineup was Pierce Lamberton, Leo Skehan, and John Redgate on the offensive line, Nick Ustaski and Justin Hoch on defense, and Dylan Troiano in goal. At the drop of the puck, the Hens came out on the ice ready to work hard. Delaware came out strong on the offensive line. They dominated the Rams’ defensive zone. The teams matched penalties, for the most part, throughout the period and game. With a CSU player in the box, defenseman, Nick Ustaski, scored the first UD goal of the night with an assist from Dan Going! The intensity was high on the ice, and the Blue Hens kept their momentum going. With 3 minutes and 9 seconds left in the period, Mike Conte scored off of an assist from Nick Ustaski! A little less than two minutes later and a Hen in the box, the Rams scored their first goal of the night. The period ended with the Hens up 2-1, and shots on goal were 20-6, UD!
With the second period underway, Delaware came on the ice knowing that they need to keep their lead. There was a UD penalty, and CSU scored a power play goal to tie up the game. The teams continued to match penalties. For a short period of time, the play was 3v3. With 11 minutes and 17 seconds into the period, a goal by Cole Zucker assisted by Matt Margolis put the Hens back in the lead! The players continued to play hard and put up a good fight. This period was pretty evenly matched, and the possession of the puck was constantly changing. At the end of the period, there was a lot of tension on the ice, and a Colorado player in the box. The score at the end of the period was 3-2, Blue Hens.
Going into the third period with the upper hand and a man advantage, UD came out ready to take the win. There was a lot of energy in the arena, and the intensity was high. Colorado was trying so hard to come back in the game. With 12 minutes 26 seconds left in the period, John Redgate put the puck in the net off of an assist from Kevin Froelich! Delaware kept their game going. With 5 minutes and 43 seconds left on the clock, CSU scored their fourth goal of the night leaving them to trail by one. With a little less than two minutes left, Colorado called a timeout. When they came back out on the ice, the Rams pulled their goalie. They had hoped to tie up the game, but Cole Zucker scored the last goal of the night on an empty net with 25.8 seconds left in the game! UD won 6-4!
After the game, I caught up with a few players. When asked what the team would do differently for Sunday’s game, Mike Conte said, “Come out with a little more energy, and more discipline on the penalties. We are also going to put in a little more work so we can come out with another win tomorrow.” Alex Guerere shared with me that he felt there were “too many bad penalties” during this game. Nick Ustaski said, “It was a good game and there was good contribution from everyone. We are going to stay out of the box tomorrow, and play the same way.”
Sunday was youth hockey day at the Rust, so all of the young hockey players that showed up in jerseys got free admittance to the game. The starting lineup for Sunday was the same as Saturday’s lineup. Puck drop was at 3:30 in the afternoon, and both teams were ready to put up a fight for a win. Less than two minutes into the game and Colorado player in the box, Leo Skehan fired the first shot into the back of the Rams’ net with an assist from John Redgate and Nick Ustaski! The energy was high. Puck possession was constantly changing. With 14 minutes and 46 seconds on the clock, the Rams put themselves on the board. Our defense worked hard to keep the Rams away from our net. Less than two minutes left in the period, a penalty was called on Delaware, and that would leave them going into the second period man down. The game was tied 1-1, and shots on goal were 8-5, Rams.
Going into the second period, the Hens knew that they needed to gain the upper hand. They were working hard, but with 18 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock, CSU slipped one into the back of our net, making the score 2-1. About 5 minutes into the period, a fight broke out on the ice, sending two Blue Hens and a Ram into their respective boxes. When it was back to even play, UD came out strong. They worked hard in Colorado’s defensive zone, and made smart plays. With a little less than four and half minutes left in the second, John Redgate found the back of the net to score a power play goal, and tied up the game! Not even a minute later, Max Freeman scored for the Blue Hens off of an assist from Alex Guerere and John Redgate with a screen from Nick Ustaski to take the lead! The score at the end of the period was 3-2, UD!
The third period was a nail biter for everyone. Ten seconds into the period, the Rams tied up the game. But shortly after, a CSU player was in the box, and Leo Skehan scored a power play goal, with an assist from John Redgate and Nick Ustaski, to put UD back in the lead! Every Blue Hen on the ice was working hard and putting their all into the game. With just under 2 and a half minutes in the period, there was a penalty called on Delaware. 22 seconds left in the game, and the Rams tied it up with a power play goal. The game went into a 4v4, 5 minute overtime period. The lineup for overtime was Leo Skehan, John Redgate, Nick Ustaski, Alex Guerere, and Dylan Troiano in net. 31 seconds into overtime, the Blue Hens earned the W, Nick Ustaski went coast to coast and received a pass from John Redgate to bury the OT winner! The final score of the game was 5-4, UD!
There was a lot of excitement after the game from the players and the fans. I was able to catch up with a few of the guys. Dan Going shared his thoughts on the game with me, “CSU tried giving us a hard time, and they tried to play physical against us. We took a deep breath and realized that if we just stuck to our game plan, we would be fine. So we played sound defensively, minimized out penalties, battled, capitalized on our offensive opportunities, and ultimately stuck together as a team and gritted out a win. A weekend sweep is actually pretty challenging in the ACHA, and we had an out-of-conference sweep. We should be able to build on this, and move forward the last few weeks of our season and create something special.” John Redgate said that their mentality going into Sunday’s game was that the team “needed 2 points because we’re on the outside looking in on Nationals, and we have got to get back in.”
The team is taking on LVC on Friday night, away at 7:00, so keep up with the Twitter page for updates! Then the Hens will be back at home on Saturday, 1/16 at 5:15, and Sunday, 1/17 at 3:30, to take on the Stony Brook University Seawolves! In preparing for the series against the Seawolves, Matt Santucci said that the team will “need to carry the momentum from this weekend into next weekend and work hard in practice. They’re a fast and strong team.” We hope to see all of our fans out at the Rust this weekend, but if you can’t make it keep up with our Twitter page for live updates and the link to the game broadcast!
Written By: Analisa Vizzoni