Written By: Analisa Vizzoni
The energy this weekend in Fred Rust Arena was high as the UD D1 hockey team hosted Robert Morris University! The series ended in an incredible win on Friday night for the Blue Hens and they suffered a trying loss on Saturday.
Acting president, Nancy Targett, dropped the opening night puck with senior captain, Leo Skehan. From the drop of the puck, our Blue Hens were in an offensive mindset. With 9:07 left on the clock, a goal was scored by sophomore, Andrew Corapi, with an assist from senior, Matt Santucci. Our team had eight shots on goal throughout the first period. There were a lot of battles in front of RMU’s net, but their goalie came out strong. Spirits were high as we went into the second period with a 1-0 lead.
The Colonials came out strong in the second period creating a lot of possession changes and a faster paced game. Senior defenseman, Nick Ustaski rushed the puck down the ice and scored the second goal for the night having 12:52 to go in the period. Both teams had a couple of big breakaways during this period, and RMU scored their first goal of the night with 11:10 left. Blue Hen goalie, Dylan Troiano, blocked seven of the eight shots on goal, bringing the score to 2-1 at the end of the period.
UD came out ready to take the win in the third period. 44 seconds in, sophomore, Cole Zucker scored the third goal for the Blue Hens with an assist from junior, John Redgate. RMU scored shortly after on a power play, making the score 3-2. The fans were on edge as the score of the game was tight, until Cole Zucker eased their minds and scored his second goal of the night off of a rebound. RMU came up on a power play again, but Troiano made a diving save. With 4 minutes and 53 seconds left in the period, senior Dan Going scored the fifth goal of the night. With almost no time left on the clock, Leo Skehan scored the sixth and final goal with an assist from freshman, Pierce Lamberton, making the final score of the game 6-2.
After the game, I was able to talk to Leo Skehan and Matt Santucci about their thoughts on winning the season opener and how they played. “Starting the season out with a win…sets the tone for the year,” Leo Skehan said. The win was “exciting…we didn’t play too well in the second period but we picked it up in the third which was good,” said Santucci. Both were ready to come back and play again for Saturday’s game.
Game two of the weekend was a nail biter for everyone. In the first period, RMU scored the first two goals of the game, one with 15:26 left to go on a breakaway, and the second with 3:12 left on the clock. There was a lot of back and forth, creating an even match and a tense environment. The Blue Hens finally got on the board when John Redgate scored on a shorthanded breakaway with a minute and 40 seconds left in the period. RMU responded with another goal 22 seconds later. Cole Zucker reacted by scoring the second goal of the night off a slapshot from the blueline with 1:02 left on the clock. There were three goals made in the last three and a half minutes of the period! At the end of the period the scoreboard read, 3-2 Colonials.
Less than a minute into the second period, senior goalie, Patrick Rochefort, made an incredible save off of a 2 on 1 play. Freshman Ian Anderson, tied up the game 3-3 off of a slapshot from the middle with 17:58 left on the clock. The Hens’ defense was strong, but with 8 minutes 20 seconds left in the period, RMU scored after a long battle in front of the net. Nearly two minutes later, UD’s opponents scored again with a pass right in front of the net making the score 5-3.
The Blue Hens came out ready for a fight in the third period. Freshman, Justin Hoch, scored after a forward rush with an assist from senior Nick Ustaski and Junior Vincent Zingarelli with 15 minutes left on the clock. There were consistent possession changes throughout the period, and many battles fought in front of both nets. With just under 3 minutes left to play, freshman Mike Zidansek scored the fifth goal of the night for the home team to tie up the game, leading into a five minute overtime period.
They played a 5 on 5 overtime match. UD put a lot of pressure on RMU’s net, but there were no goals scored by either team, leaving the score 5-5. The Hens let the Colonials take the first penalty shot. John Redgate, the first player to shoot for the University of Delaware, scored; leading the shootout 1-0. RMU scored their second shot, and Leo Skehan was denied at the goal. Both teams missed their third goals, which were shot by Cole Zucker, creating a tie. It became a four person shootout, and RMU scored their fourth goal and blocked UD’s Matt Margolis from making the final shot. The truly fighting Blue Hens lost the second game 6-5.
I was able to get a few words from Nick Ustaski about the outcome of this game and his thoughts for next weekend. “We faced adversity to get the two goals we needed to get in order to get into overtime, which was something that we couldn’t do last year. It was a good test for the season, and we’re looking forward to Navy next weekend,” he said.
Come out again on Friday, October 2nd, to support your favorite Blue Hens as they take on Navy at 7:00 pm in the Fred Rust Arena!