It was a great weekend to be a Blue Hen! The team came out of the series with a sweep against the West Chester University Golden Rams, and it was homecoming. This is the team’s fourth consecutive sweep! Friday night the teams played at the Fred Rust with a 6:00 puck drop, and Saturday the Hens traveled to Pennsylvania for a 2:00 game time.
The starting lineup for the first game of the series was John Redgate, Cole Zucker and Landon Gabriele for the forwards, Justin Hoch and Jakob DeFares on defense, and Stephen East in the net. At the start of the clock, both teams came out with high expectations. West Chester kept up with the Hens’ speed, and matched a lot of plays. There was a lot of back and forth play. Delaware was playing aggressive and with high pressure on the Rams’ defensive line, however the team went the entire period with no penalties called. With a minute and a half left, Michael Nisky dangled the puck through West Chester’s entire defensive line and put one on the board for the Blue Hens assisted by Jake DeFares and Chris Mazzella. That was the score at the end of the first, and the Hens had ten shots on goal.
With the second period underway, things started to get chippy. Both teams wanted to come out on top, and only trailing by one, the Rams started to play much more aggressive. There were a good amount of penalties called on both teams, and it slowed down the game a bit. The Hens were successful on all of the penalty kills. At the end of the second, there were two Hens in the box, and they would go into the third on the kill. After successfully making it back to five on five play in the third, the team went on the power play for a change. Dustin Rabinowitz found the Rams’ net off an assist from DeFares and J. Redgate. The game was still a bit chippy, and Coach Giantonio shuffled the lines a bit. Trying to catch back up, the Rams made a couple shots on goal, but East let nothing through. In the last minute of play, West Chester pulled their goalie. Pierce Lamberton scored the final goal of the game on an empty net with thirty seconds left, to make the end score 3-0, Delaware.
After the game, some of their players shared their thoughts. Max Shusterman said, “Their goalie played well, but we found ways to get the puck past them. We have to bury our chances better tomorrow.” Rabinowitz noted, “We came out slow, but fought some hard battles to score an early goal. East kept us in the game, and we came out full strength in the second and third to win the game.” DeFares added that for Saturday’s game the team needed to minimize penalties.
Saturday’s game, the starters had a slight change, and Michael Redgate started at right wing. At puck drop, the Hens came out in the mindset to win. They had a couple of early opportunities in front of West Chester’s net, but weren’t able to get it passed their goalie. There were a few penalties on both teams, and with less than a minute left in the first, a Ram went to the box. This put Delaware on the power play going into the second, with the score being tied at zero. With more penalties called on WCU, the Hens weren’t able to find success on the power play. The Rams’ goalie was continuously making great saves. Delaware was successful on their penalty kills, and East made some incredible, consecutive saves to keep the game tied. With two Hens and a Ram in their respective boxes, the team was at a one man disadvantage, but leave it to captain, John Redgate, to score shorthanded for the team off an assist by Zucker and Mike Zidansek! Less than a minute later, the teams headed to the locker rooms for the second intermission, and UD was in the lead by one.
In the beginning of the third, the Hens were successful at killing off the penalty. They were able to create more opportunities in front of West Chester’s net, but again nothing got past the goalie. After some more penalties drawn on both teams and a fight after the final whistle, the Blue Hens took the victory, and improved their record to 13-1 for the season!
Reflecting on Saturday’s game,
Turner Cepuritis said, “We played a very good game, and controlled the puck for the majority of the time. Their goalie played really well, and we were only able to beat him once, but that was all we needed.”
This weekend the team will be back home on Friday night at 7:00 for a game against Rutgers. Cole Zucker said, “It’s a big weekend going into Rutgers. They just swept Stony Brook, which is a high ranked team, which gives us more motivation to win. We have had success at the start of the season, and if we could come out with another sweep against Rutgers, it could make a big statement to the league.” Aside from having a great game to watch, it will be “Military Night” at the Fred Rust, and the team will be sporting camo jerseys that will be available for a silent auction. All of the proceeds will go to the Delaware Veterans Coalition, and for more information about this organization, please feel free to visit their website http://delawareveteranscoalition.com/. It will be a really special game, and the team hopes all of their fans are able to come out to show support. With that said, keep up with all social media throughout the week and for updates on our games.
Facebook: University of Delaware Men’s Division 1 Ice Hockey
Written By: Analisa Vizzoni