The Blue Hens hit the road for the first time in over a month. They will be traveling to Long Island, New York to take on ESCHL division leader Stony Brook University.
The Blue Hens are currently sitting at third in the ESCHL standings, with games still remaining against #1 Stony Brook and #2 Rhode Island. The Blue Hens are three points behind Rhode Island and are 13 points behind division leader Stony Brook.
Stony Brook has been able to score at will against ESCHL opponents. They have managed an impressive 71 goals in only 12 ESCHL games this year. Their closest counterparts are Rhode Island with 39 and Delaware with 30 goals.
Stony Brook has been a powerhouse so far this season, as they have consistently been a top 5 team in the nation. However, they recently dropped to #7 in the latest ranking on January 16th, 2015. The drop was likely because of their 7-3 loss against Liberty University in their first game back from the holiday break. They did however; manage to squeak past Liberty the next day winning 3-2.
Last year around this time, the Blue Hens managed to get a huge sweep against Stony Brook. They hope to do the same this year.
Practice this week has been physically demanding. When I asked Freshman Cole Zucker about practices, he agreed with me. “We are definitely trying to be more physical. They’re a skilled team, so if we try to go after them early, and get them off their game early, we should have more success this weekend.” Zucker also pointed out the fact that Stony Brook has a smaller rink, which would help the more physical team.
The Blue Hens got points out of both of their games the first weekend back from the Holiday Break. They managed to get 3 points in a couple games against West Virginia.
The first game was one of the most exciting games so far this season. The Blue Hens were down a goal with only 90 seconds left in regulation. Their sustained attack eventually led to a deflection goal by Vinny Zingarelli with only 2.7 seconds left in regulation. The Blue hens dominance in overtime paid off when recently named assistant captain, Marcello Deangelis, scored a breakaway goal with just 2 seconds left.
On Saturday, the Blue Hens traded places with the Mountaineers. They had the late lead but eventually got themselves into a 5v3 situation. West Virginia would score on the power play and win the game in overtime.
Deangelis, a senior, came through big for the Blue Hens with 2 timely goals on the weekend. He now has 12 points for the season.
The Blue Hens young players continue to produce. Freshman Cole Zucker leads the team with 25 points. Zucker also scored his 13th goal of the season when they were able to beat West Virginia last Friday. Sophomore Dylan Troiano was able to pick up the win in that effort. He has two shut outs this season and is boasting a 1.48 GAA. Will this all be enough to catch Rhode Island and Stony Brook?
When I asked Zucker if time could be running out for the Blue Hens to catch Rhode Island and Stony Brook, he answered “absolutely not. If we get a couple big wins against them, we can jump right back into the rankings.”
The Blue Hens could get a couple big wins this weekend. They play Stony Brook Saturday at 8:30 PM, and then again on Sunday at 3:30 PM in Long Island.
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick