By Brittany Burke
The CCSU club hockey team hasn’t played a game since Dec. 17 against Bryant University on the road, but despite the break the Blue Devils managed to come out against Montclair State and continue its win streak, topping the Red Hawks 5-3.
Saturday night’s home game against Red Hawks was the second meeting between the two Super East teams, both resulting in a win for the Blue Devils. Not only was this a game between the number four and number five teams in the league, but this rematch also marked the first game between the two since goalie Greg Coco was injured on the road at Montclair.
“I thought it was going to be a very difficult game for us to play,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “[Montclair] came in with a lot of confidence, tying the best team in the Northeast last night, and how our first game against them went, it was kind of lopsided in our favor and we had a lot of emotion we had to channel with our goaltender getting hurt in that last game too. So there was a lot of speed bumps that could’ve come up but I thought we played well despite that.”
The tension between the two teams was evident on the ice and it wasn’t long before the physical play grew chippy.
“Everyone was trying to get revenge but we also wanted to win and obviously that’s the main case we were going for and we got that done,” said Jon Knobloch.
CCSU fought through and managed to get on the board first, but the lead didn’t last long. Just three minutes after the Blue Devils got their first point the Red Hawks scored on a five-on-three power play to tie the score.
Taking unnecessary penalties and then killing off the power play is something that the Blue Devils struggled with all game. All three Montclair goals came with at least one CCSU player in the box and serving time.
“The goals that they got were nothing more than throwing it to the net and crashing it and getting some tips and some back door stuff and we knew that’s what they try to do and it’s very difficult to defend when they have an extra man down low that they can send into the crease and create those opportunities,” said Adams. “… We just have to clean up why we’re getting to the box. There was a couple calls, good, bad or indifferent they’re things we could’ve controlled and we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position.”
Much of the game was back and forth and that was evident in the scoring. With just over five minutes left to play before the first intermission, CCSU’s Brian Fay brought the puck up the side through the neutral zone and into the attacking zone before shooting and notching the team’s second goal of the night.
“First game you know we had to work some rust off in the first period, you know, we were kind of slow taking a lot of penalties but after the first we kind of got back into and did what we had to to get the win,” said Fay.
With Evan Mink serving a two minute penalty in the second, Montclair managed to put the puck past Mike Joy and goalie John Palmieri to tie the score for the second time that night.
Despite the fact that Montclair managed to tie the game, they were never able to fully gain the lead. Fifty-three seconds after the teams were two each, CCSU’s Dustin Rider netted a short-handed goal, his second goal of the night.
Rider is a new addition to the Blue Devils and made quite a name for himself in his debut game. Rider tallied a hat trick against Montclair and helped add depth to the Blue Devil lines.
Rider isn’t the only add-on to CCSU this semester. A handful of guys have been reactivated, joined and become eligible for the second half of the season.
“It’s really good so we can mix up the lines, we don’t have to stack the lines as much, we can spread out the offense and that way everyone’s getting out there and contributing which is nice,” said Fay.
Palmieri kept the Red Hawks out of the net in the third, allowing the Blue Devils to gain two more points. A power play goal made by Jon Knobloch and the empty-netter from Rider officially sealed the win for the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils return to action this Saturday against team rivals William Patterson at 8:30 p.m. in Newington.