The Delaware Blue Hens came out of the weekend with a sweep against the University of Pittsburgh at home in in the Fred Rust. This weekend was packed with two promotional nights. Friday Night the team honored our troops by sporting camouflage jerseys that were auctioned off to support the United Heroes League with their annual Military Night, while on Saturday the boys celebrated this festive season by giving back to their fans with “Hockey Holidays.”

Friday’s game started at 7:15pm at the Fred Rust Ice Arena. Starting lineup was #15 Shane Mullin, #22 Michael Nisky, #13 Chris Mazzella, #24 Mike Zidansek, and #6 Harrison Chuma, with #30 Stephen East between the pipes. The Blue Hens wasted no time taking the lead with an unassisted goal from #16 Kevin Felice with 17:20 left in the first. Delaware made the score 2-0 a little less than halfway through the period, even with two Hens in the box, fans saw a goal from #28 captain Cole Zucker. The boys maintained their lead until the end of the first period, and went into the second with a 2 goal lead. A penalty to Delaware put us one player short with 12:21 remaining in the second, and as the penalty ended, Pittsburgh used the last moments of the power play to put one in the net, nipping the lead, 2-1. Another power play goal tied the score at two with 8:14 remaining in the second period. The tie didn’t last long when a goal from #22 Michael Nisky, off an assist from #24 Mike Zidansek and Zucker, put the Blue Hens in the lead again with 5:31 left to go in the second. Hungry for more, #14 Dustin Rabinowitz cashed in on an assist from #12 Colin Emerich and #6 Harrison Chuma, raising the score to 4-2. The Blue Hens didn’t stop there. With 17 seconds left in the second, #15 Shane Mullin put one in the net with assists by Nisky and #11 Tommy Cascone. Going into the third period, the score was 5-2. With 10 minutes and 17 seconds left in regulation,  Mullin came in with this second goal of the night off an assist by #13 Chris Mazzella and #22 Nisky. Michael Nisky followed with his second goal of the night with less than a minute later with assists from Mazzella and Mullin, giving Delaware a lead of 7-2. Pitt, in an attempt to decrease their deficit, scored another goal with 6:11 left in regulation but were not able to catch up to the Fightin’ Blue Hens. The final score was 7-3 Delaware. Nisky, who scored two goals during the game, shared his thoughts after with us stating, “Tonight we played the way that we really can, and we beat a team that we were fully equipped to beat. Both my goals were thanks to good setups from my teammates.”

Saturday’s game we celebrated Hockey Holidays at the Fred Rust Ice Arena, and the boys rematched against Pitt. The puck dropped at 3:45, and had a starting lineup of #26 Brian Ostrander, #28 Cole Zucker, #8 Cam Piorkowski, #24 Mike Zidansek, and #6 Harrison Chuma, and the goalie for the matinee was #1 Chris Ponticello. Going in the first period, the score remained zero until 6 minutes was left on the clock. A goal from Shane Mullin, assisted by #21 Michael Redgate and #14 Dustin Rabinowitz put Delaware in the lead. Mullin was able to score yet ANOTHER goal, assisted by #26 Brian Ostrander and Zucker with less than one minute left in the first! His two goals for the period put Delaware in the lead against Pitt after the first twenty minutes of play. The second period began with Delaware in the lead, and remained that way until the end of the second period, ending at the same score, 2-0. Throughout the second, the Hens played defensively and found success on a few penalty kills. Going into the third period, Redgate capitalized on the power play with a goal off a pass from Mazzella and Rabinowitz with 14:32 remaining in regulation. Pittsburgh tried for the comeback, scoring two goals within minutes of each other, but Delaware kept calm and maintained their lead, finalizing the score at 3-2. Piorkowski gave us some information on the game, and said, “We came out hard in the first and got up on them, which helped us ultimately complete the sweep. Going forward, it’s crucial that we stay focused on the second period.” Goalie of the game, Chris Ponticello, also added, “I feel we all came together to put out a strong team win. It’s always a great feeling to get a sweep at home after being on the road so long.”

Next weekend, the boys are away matching up against Ohio University. When asked about how they would prepare for Ohio, #13 Chris Mazzella said, “It’ll be one of our biggest weekends of the year so we’re going to need a good week of practice.” Be sure to keep up with the team this upcoming weekend in Ohio by following our social media below!

Twitter: @udhockey

Instagram: @udicehockey

Facebook: University of Delaware Men’s Division 1 Ice Hockey

Written By: Daniella Fioretti