Written By: Analisa Vizzoni
It was a great weekend for the Blue Hens’ ice hockey team! They hit the road, and made their way up to face the #23 ranked University of Rhode Island. UD came back home with the sweep!
The puck dropped at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night, and the game was in full swing! Less than three minutes into the first period, URI scored the first goal of the night. There was a lot of movement up and down the ice, and with half the period down, UD led with shots on goal 4-2. With 5 minutes and 15 seconds left on the clock in the first period, URI scored again. The Hens responded quickly. Right off the faceoff, defenseman, Nick Ustaski scored the first Delaware goal for the night with an assist from Cole Zucker. With 4 minutes and 40 seconds on the clock, that goal left the Rams looking scrambled. Possession of the puck was constantly changing. With 1 minute and 6 seconds left in the period, Cole Zucker scored a beautiful goal assisted by Pierce Lamberton, tying up the game! The period ended in a tie, and shots on goal were 15-7 in favor of Delaware.
The second period was underway, and there was a 5 minute major penalty called on UD less than one minute in. URI was on the power play. They had many opportunities in front of our net, but the Blue Hens were successful on the penalty kill. With 13 minutes and 35 seconds on the clock, Vinny Zingarelli scored on a power play tipping a slapshot from Nick Ustaski putting Delaware in the lead! With URI on the power play, they scored to tie up the game with 11 minutes and 1 second on the clock. Throughout the rest of the period, there was a lot of movement. Both teams were trying to come out of the period with the upper hand, but it ended with the score tied at 3. Shots on goal were 18-17 in favor of the Hens.
The third period started, and UD was in offensive control. The Blue Hens dominated the Rams’ defensive zone. 13 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock, Cole Zucker scored his second goal of the night with the assist from Matt Margolis and Leo Skehan. There was a penalty called on URI. UD had chances in front of the net, but were denied. Having 7 minutes left in the period, Rhode Island scored to tie up the game yet again. Shots on goal were even as well, 21-21. With a minute and 5 seconds left in the period, there was a penalty called on UD. The period ended in a tie, and the game went into a 5 minute overtime.
At the start of the overtime period, URI was on a power play. Delaware was successful on the penalty kill. Goalie, Dylan Troiano, and the defense put in great work to keep Rhode Island from scoring. At the end of the 5 minutes, there was still no score. The game had to go into a shootout. URI took the first shot, and they were denied at the net. UD’s Cole Zucker took the first shot, but no goal. URI shot again, and was blocked by Troiano. Pierce Lamberton was second for Delaware, but he too was denied at the net. URI was up, and there was no goal. Vinny Zingarelli was next to shoot, and he put the puck in the back of the net for a Blue Hen win! The energy was high, and both teams came out the next day ready to play.
On Saturday, the puck dropped at 5:00 p.m. and the intensity was high from the start. The Blue Hens were controlling the puck. UD was winning most of the face-offs. There was movement up and down the ice from both teams. There was a lot of aggression on the ice. A few roughing penalties were called on both teams. With a Ram in the box, Delaware’s Matt Margolis scored the first goal of the night with 9.4 seconds left in the period! Shots on goal were even at 10.
The second period was filled with roughness as well. Both teams were fired up, and trying to come away with the win. With 5 minutes left in the period, URI scored to tie up the game. There was a UD penalty with 36 seconds left on the clock. At the end of the period, shots on goal favored Rhode Island 17-15. As both teams were skating back to their respective benches, a fight broke out, putting a Ram in the box for the start of the next 20 minutes.
The third period started with 4v4 play due to the penalties at the end of the second. 5 minutes in, Nick Ustaski scored putting the Blue Hens in the lead! Possession of the puck was constantly changing, and there was plenty of movement up and down the ice. A little more than half way through the period, Cole Zucker scored the third UD goal of the night on a breakaway! The intensity was high, and the Hens were leading by two. With 5 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock, URI scored. There was a UD penalty fresh off the goal. The penalty kill was successful. There was a URI penalty called, but UD couldn’t get anything in the net on the penalty play. In the last few minutes of play, there was a UD penalty called. With a minute left on the clock, Rhode Island took out their goalie in hopes to give themselves an offensive advantage. Leo Skehan, John Redgate, Alex Guerere, and Nick Ustaski fought hard on the Penalty Kill and were able to hold Rhode Island until the game ended. The Blue Hens won 3-2! Shots on goal favored Delaware 30-24 at the end of the game, completing the weekend swept of their ESCHL and ACHA rival.
After the exciting weekend, I was able to catch up with a few of the players. After coming home with a sweep against a division rival, I asked them their thoughts on the weekend. Senior, Matt Margolis, said, “It’s always a feeling out process when you’re playing a team for the first time, especially a division rival. They were lucky to catch us off guard early in that first period in that first game. After that early setback we were able to rally around one another and mount a comeback that would eventually turn into a win in the shootout. The second game we came out knowing we needed another win. Adding Another 2 points would be huge in the Division and in the national rankings as well as giving us some momentum going into Friday’s game against LVC. We played well. We played physical and didn’t give them a chance to get back in the game. We kept the pressure on and were able to hold on. I took a bad penalty in the last minute of that game but the PK and Troiano came up big again as they have all year. It was a total team effort and I’m proud of the guys for the job they did this weekend.” Pierce Lamberton responded, “So it was definitely a good weekend for us. The attitude for both games was that it was definitely going to be a competitive weekend for us, and we knew winning would have to be a battle. After the first shootout win, the energy in the locker room was definitely high. But, we knew we weren’t done yet, and had to bring the momentum into Saturday. After we took care of business Saturday, the mood on the team was just something we haven’t see yet this year. These two wins definitely helps us build our confidence for the upcoming weekend.”
The team is on a five game winning streak, and we hope to see it continue! They are back home on Friday, November 6th at 8:15 to take on Lebanon Valley College! It is also Breast Cancer Awareness Night at the Fred Rust Arena. ALL the proceeds from Friday’s game will go to the Team Jen Foundation. This is an organization that provides financial assistance to young women and men who are battling breast cancer in the Mid-Atlantic region. In addition, they also raise awareness about how important it is to be your own advocate. For more information about this organization, visit http://www.teamjeninc.org/! So please be sure to come on out to the game to support the team and this great organization!