The weekend’s matchup was an intense one as University of Delaware’s D1 Men’s hockey team faced the Robert Morris University Colonials. The games ended in a nail-biting sweep for the Blue Hens after two very close games.
Friday night’s game had a 6:15pm puck drop and a starting lineup of #6 Harrison Chuma, #37 Jack Zimmer on defense and forwards #9 Gregory Jandoli, #22 Michael Nisky and #21 Michael Redgate. The goaltender for the night was #1 Christopher Ponticello. The game came off to a slow start with neither team being able to execute on scoring opportunities. Just when it seemed like the first period was going to end scoreless, RMU put one in the net with 2.9 seconds left on the clock. The power play goal set the atmosphere for what would be an edge-of-the-seat evening. The first period ended with Robert Morris in the lead 1-0; shots on goal for the first was Robert Morris 10, Delaware 6. The second period underway with Delaware moving to break the RMU lead. With 15:43 remaining in the second, #10 Drew Torrey scored a backhand shot off of a feed from #28 Cole Zucker, tying the score 1-1.
Hardly a minute later, RMU put another on the scoreboard and made their lead, 2-1. Another penalty on Delaware allowed the Colonials another power play goal, pushing up their lead 3-1 over the Blue Hens with 1:58 remaining in the second. Just as the second period was coming to a close, Delaware’s #5 Harrison Good put one past the RMU goalie off an assist from #8 Cam Piorkowski. The goal, coming with a mere 47.3 seconds left in the period, nipped Robert Morris’s lead. The score moving into the third was 3-2. Two and a half minutes into the third period, #37 Jack Zimmer cashed in on an assist from #13 Chris Mazzella, tying the game at 3.
“It was a great game to be apart of. There was a lot of back and forth hockey with strong offense. I got lucky from my teammates getting me enough space to shoot a goal,” said Zimmer, after the game.
The Blue Hens couldn’t stop at the tie. #6 Harrison Chuma took Delaware into the lead with a beautiful assist from #21 Mike Redgate. With four minutes left in regulation, Robert Morris tied the score again. The game was getting dangerously close to overtime when with 1 minute and 44 seconds, #21 Michael Redgate scored what would be the the game-winning goal, completely unassisted.
“It was a good team win. Nice to see us close the game out in the third. I hope to come out and play a more complete game tomorrow,” said senior #10 Drew Torrey after the game.
Saturday’s game, ending in a shootout, was even more nerve-racking. In addition, the pressure was on as UD hockey celebrated alumni weekend with the presence of several of our alumni players. The starting lineup consisted of #11 Thomas Cascone, #23 Devin Jenny, #14 Dustin Rabinowitz, #28 Cole Zucker, #13 Chris Mazzella and goaltender #30 Stephen East. The first goal came from RMU with 7:30 left in the first, followed by a second with 11.4 seconds left in the first period. RMU had the lead in the second and took the lead 2-0 into the third. Into the third period, the Blue Hens understood the necessity to tie the game. With 11:30 left in regulation, #26 Brian Ostrander cashed in on a feed from #21 Michael Redgate to nip the Robert Morris lead in half. With less than four minutes left in regulation, #32 Ethan Docking tied up the game at 2 with an unassisted goal. Thirty seconds later, RMU took the lead again, 3-2. Blue Hen fans were nervous to see what the team could do with less than 3 and a half minutes left on the clock, but faith wasn’t lost. With 3 minutes left on the clock, the Blue Hens tied the score again with a goal from #15 Shane Mullin, with assists from #28 Cole Zucker and #13 Chris Mazzella. The game, even more tense than yesterday, was tied at three as regulation ended. It would have to be battled out in overtime.
The five minutes of overtime passed with no goal, which meant a shootout for the Robert Morris players and the Blue Hens. Robert Morris took the first shot, which was blocked by goalie #30 Stephen East. Up next was Delaware’s own #22 Michael Nisky. Nisky shoots and scores with a beautiful shot past the Robert Morris goalie. The Robert Morris player who followed Nisky lost control of the puck before his shot. Delaware player #21 Mike Redgate, up after, was also stopped, leaving it up to the RMU players next shot. Stephen “Stonewall” East blocked RMU’s shot, winning the game for the night and resulting in a sweep for the weekend.
Of the last game of the series, Nisky said, “The game went very well, Alumni Weekend is always a ton of fun having guys who helped make this program what it is come back and support us. It was a great weekend for the program.” East added, “The team fought through adversity, and for the first time, I think we all believed we were going to win the game.”
Join us this weekend for our last two home games of the season at the Fred Rust Arena in Newark, Delaware as the University of Delaware Blue Hens take on the West Chester University Rams. Games are Friday night 6:15pm and Saturday 5:25pm.
Facebook: University of Delaware Men’s Division 1 Ice Hockey
Written By: Daniella Fioretti