ESCHL Playoff Recap and Nationals Preview

With a big weekend down in the books and another exciting weekend on its way, I got the chance to sit down with sophomore, forward Cole Zucker to talk about all that’s happening in the UD Hockey world.

Last weekend the team traveled to Hershey, PA this past weekend for the ESCHL Playoffs Tournament. All six teams from the division were there, and Delaware was the third seed team for the tourney. Friday afternoon, the team matched up against the West Chester University Golden Rams. “It was a rough game. We didn’t play our best, and kind of played down to their level,” Cole said. The team has beat the Rams by a large margin each time they played each other during the regular season. Zucker noted that it was a good performance by goalie, Dylan Troiano, who kept the Hens in the game even when the game was tied. “The team showed resilience in the third, because even though it was a tied game, we were able to score again to take the win.”

Advancing to the next round, UD played the LVC Flying Dutchmen on Saturday at 7:30. LVC is a team that the Blue Hens match up well against, and has beat them twice in the season at their own rink. “In the past, the way we had success against them was exposing their defense, and creating offense down low.” However, during this game, LVC matched their lines up with our lines, making it difficult to make any offensive plays. Once again, Cole noted that Dylan played strong and held down fort. He also said that there was good leadership shown by John Redgate, who ended up scoring late in the game to allow the teams to go into an overtime period. “In OT they scored in their first shift off of an offensive draw, and the puck took a weird bounce in the neutral zone. It ended up in a 2 on 1 play, and there was just no way for Troiano to save it.”

When talking about the tournament as a whole and their experience there, Cole said, “It’s always exciting because you can see all the teams in your division there. It’s the only tournament style weekend we play, so it was cool to see everyone play before our games and after our games. Everyone bought into the weekend to try and win a league championship for the first time.” He also said that he thought John Redgate and Leo Skehan really stepped up on the penalty kills. Dylan Troiano was the glue for the weekend in net. But one player that really stands out is Mike Zidansek. “He has really stepped up throughout the year. Being a rookie, he really shows his physical style of play. He motivates the rest of the team to hit just as much as he does.”

On Monday the team is heading to Illinois for the ACHA National Tournament, and their first game is on March 4th at 11:00 am against the Lindenwood Lions. A lot of the older guys have been to a Nationals tournament before, so they will have to show the younger guys the ropes. The whole team is really excited to go, and Cole has a lot of faith in the team, especially if they play the way they did over the winter session. He is just ready to make some memories with the rest of the team and play some good hockey. “I’ve been to three previous national tournaments in my younger days, and it’s hard to explain the excitement there because it’s all of the best teams in the nation. When the day comes, it will be really exciting to play some those teams and to actually just be there. Going there as a team and being with the group of guys we’ve been playing with all year, and being 14th in the country, it makes you excited to play not only with each other, but for each other. I’m really confident with the team we have.”


Written By: Analisa Vizzoni