At the end of a brutal schedule of 6 games in 9 days, the Blue Hens faced off against George Mason for their final regular season game. Dropping this game against the Patriots matched them up against Alvernia Crusaders Friday Feb. 17 at the Skatium in Haverford.
Understanding the importance of a win and the expectations of their performance in the playoffs, the the team met for a Friday pre-game meal. An untimely gas alarm at the Rust Arena prevented 7 key players from retrieving their equipment and making the trip to the game on the bus. Eventually getting their equipment and driving 1 1/2 hours to the rink they did not arrive until the beginning of the 3rd period. The Hens worked through the adversity of a shortened bench and prevailed with a healthy 6 – 1 victory moving them into the quarter finals of the DVCHC playoffs.
Quarter Finals – Saturday Feb. 18 the Hens got their long awaited rematch against Richard Stockton University. Loosing the regular season game in an overtime shootout the team was well aware of their challenge. The challenge was met with determination and grit, which handed the Osprey a 3-1 loss. It was a complete team effort in the scoring category with multiple players involved in each goal. Lighting the lamp first for the evening to set the tone was Steven “Cash” Cacchioli from Senior Andrew Knight and Freshman Greg Bowers. The blistering shot of Ryan Sarrocco tallied the game winning goal assisted by Senior Matt Bishop and “Cash”. Securing the victory with the third goal was Shane Saladis assisted by Martin Coverdale, and Dylan O’Brien. To no surprise delivering big hits throughout the game were Madia, Bishop, and Garrett . Quote of the game goes to Senior Ryan Sarrocco. Following the goal, in the midst of his celebration, Sarrocco returns to the bench to say, “That was the biggest goal of my life!” On to the semi finals……
Semi Finals – Sunday the 19th marked the first trip for the Blue Hens to the DVCHC National Division Semi Finals. Knowing that their opponent is headed to the NCAA next season, and one of the top 5 ranked teams in the Nation, the team knew they needed to arrive prepared to play 60 minutes of hockey, and 60 minutes of hockey is what the fans saw. Before the game the team turned to the guidance of their Senior Captains “KC” Elliott and Matt Bishop to motivate and guide them. These two seniors not only offered advice between periods but led by example and exhibited a consistent presence and force on the ice. The team was not at all surprised Sunday by Forrest Hines’ performance. His unbelievable athletic ability and tenacity between the pipes during the game was something they have become accustom to seeing game in and game out. There was plenty of action the duration of the game. Big Joe Weindling and Dylan Garrett dished out a few memorable hits of their own. After being caught off guard by an unexpected hit, Freshman big Joe Weindling immediately returned the favor when he delivered a bone crushing hit just seconds later to his opponent at the blue line. Coming off the ice Joe shakes his head with a smile on his face and says, “Coach, that was a big boy, I didn’t expect that”. You have to know Joe to appreciate that comment. In addition, Garrett delivered a blue line stunner or two of his own sparking some stick banging and intensity from the Blue Hens bench. Closing out an action packed 3rd the Hens fell to Bryn Athen a final score of 6-0. Coach commented after the game that this was a monumental weekend for the team and program. What team accomplished this weekend and throughout the season is a credit to the Seniors commitment and support as well as the coachable attitude and character of every player on the team. We will certainly need a good recruitment class to replace the talent lost from the graduating seniors, but having a core of skilled underclassmen will certainly make filling these vacancies much easier.
Best of luck to the seniors Andrew Knight, Kenneth Elliot, Matt Bishop, Nathan Kanter, & Ryan Sarrocco in their future careers and life endeavors.