by Nicholas Leahey
The Central Connecticut Men’s Ice Hockey Club Team (7-6-0) beat conference rivals William Patterson University (8-2-0) 2-0 Saturday in a tight and physical game at Newington Ice Arena.
After a slow first period for the Blue Devils, the first goal was scored just 3:04 into the second period, when Captain Matthew Lis scored unassisted from the hash marks to beat William Patterson goalie Jordan Hulahan high on the blocker side.
“I was pumped,” said Lis in an interview after the game. “It’s a great feeling. I can’t explain it.”
CCSU was then able to cement their lead when forward Jack Johnson scored a power play goal at 6:11 of the third period off a rebound, beating Hulahan on the glove side.
“Going into the game we knew what was on the line,” said CCSU Head Coach Joseph Dabowski after the game. “They came out really hard and threw some big hits. It was a turning point when we decided not to shy away.”
The Blue Devils were outshot in the game, unofficially 63 to 33. Despite WPU’s onslaught, especially during the remaining 1:30 of the game when WPU pulled their goalie, CCSU was able to hold on, giving goalie Zach Gosselin the shutout.
“I mean, I think the whole team played really well,” said Gosselin after the game. “To come out and beat a team like William Patterson is a very big thing.”
Tensions were high during the game, which was very physical from the beginning on both sides. The opening minute especially saw two big hits, including one 25 seconds in, when CCSU forward Adam Mink was hit up high.
Scuffles broke out during numerous points during the game, as both teams exchanged words with one another. Multiple penalties for roughing and unsportsman-like conduct were given throughout the game as a result.
The most notable instances came in the remaining minute of the game when Lis exchanged words with William Patterson’s Kyle Garlasco, resulting in matching roughing penalties. Soon thereafter, CCSU left wing Kyle Leyerzapf got into a physical confrontation with WPU defender Shawn Lacorte during the last five seconds of the game. Both were subsequently given matching roughing penalties, and sent off the ice.
In all, 16 penalties were given during the game, with each team receiving eight penalties respectively.
Despite game statistics, most of which heavily favored William Patterson, CCSU earned a much-needed victory, adding to their 6-1 record this semester.
“They matched their intensity,” said Coach Dabowski. “They kind of rose to the challenge, and they didn’t back down.”
The Blue Devils play their next game Friday, Feb. 12th against Eastern Connecticut State University at Newington Ice Arena as a part of a weekend double-header. They also play Bryant on Saturday, also at home.
Going into the weekend double-header, the Blue Devil’s plan to maintain their energy level.
“We’re doing a lot of things right, and keeping things consistent. If we’re doing a lot of things right, then keep it going,” said Coach Dabowski.