By Brittany Burke
The Blue Devils club hockey team couldn’t hold off the top-ranked William Paterson University on home ice, dropping their second game in a row 8-2.
“The positive is we’re not supposed to beat a team like Willy P and with that being said we’re gonna have to regroup and realize we’re not going to walk over teams, it humbles us a bit, getting beat this bad and hopefully we can learn from it and really play blue collar hockey,” said Ryan Stanley.
Following a loss on the road against the University of New Hampshire last weekend, CCSU came into the game looking to upset the Pioneers. However, with the game 2-0 in WPU’s favor less than two minutes into the first period it was evident the game was going to be an uphill climb.
“It’s always tough when you’re trying to battle uphill especially out of the gate early. It’s one of those that your balloon gets popped real quick and you have to refocus and realize you’re in the middle of a game,” said Head Coach Ben Adams.
Emotions ran high on both sides finally culminating in an entire line brawl with 2:03 left to play in the second period.
With the Pioneers up 5-1, chaos erupted on the ice following a stoppage of play in front of WPU’s net. The fight against WPU involved CCSU’s Conor Stanley, Jon Knobloch, Evan Mink, Mike Joy and Zack Vidmosko.
“I think just the frustration finally boiled over you know we were getting some chances and we just weren’t burying any and we were trying to get to the net and get some good net presence and they took exception to it and one thing leads to another,” said Adams. “…it’s part of the game, it happens. I thought it added some energy to our game. After that we just couldn’t capitalize.”
Everyone on the ice was given time for roughing while some of the athletes, including Mink, were tossed from the game.
While the fight meant having some of the best CCSU players sitting in the box, it seemed to ignite a fire in the Blue Devils coming into the third.
The Blue Devils continued to improve in the attack zone with crisp passing, but they couldn’t bury the puck.
With 11:55 left in the game the Pioneers struck for the seventh time of the game netting a power play goal while Matt Siracusa took a two-minute minor. The goal was the final shot allowed for CCSU goalie John Palmieri, who was pulled and replaced by Ross Mocko. Palmieri allowed for seven goals in 32 attempts while Mocko let in one with eight shots taken.
Penalties proved to be a continual hindrance for the Blue Devils as they have all season with three of the Pioneers’ goals coming when CCSU was on the penalty kill.
“Between the second and third we had a get-together with just the players and we decided we wanted to play really hard and we did for a little bit, but the penalties really killed it for us,” said Ryan Stanley.
Stanley notched the team’s second goal of the game with 10:08 left in the third period from Dustin Rider and his brother, Conor Stanley, but the spark wasn’t enough to catapult the team to a late comeback.
“Our guys did a good job of not quitting,” said Adams. “Our problem was they just didn’t turn it on quick enough. We have a team who can play with anybody, depth and talent but when we don’t get it from the beginning and you’re playing up hill it’s a tough battle regardless of the team you’re playing or the team you have it’s one of those things that you’ve got to kind of own the first five minutes and settle into a game.”
The Blue Devils will be back in Newington on Friday at 9:15 p.m. to try for another win against Bryant. CCSU has a packed weekend; following the game against Bryant the team will play Western Connecticut at home on Saturday and at Marist on Sunday.