The NYU hockey team’s national tournament run continued in Utah Monday night. After an 8-1 drubbing of Lindenwood University, the Violets are headed to the American Hockey Coaches Association National Championship to square off against Florida Gulf Coast University.
The Violets never trailed in a game that they were determined to win. They were leading just 1-0 after the first period, but were able to open up their lead in the second thanks to some well-executed power plays and opportune finishes. In one of the most lopsided finishes ever in an AHCA semifinal game, the Violets scored seven straight goals in the second and third periods to dismantle Lindenwood. After the game, head coach Chris Cosentino was pleased with his team’s execution. Cosentino is excited to be playing for a fifth straight day in the national championship game.
“We played a complete game and it came down to special teams,” Cosentino said. “Our penalty kill unit did an incredible job. We stuck to our game plan for 60 minutes and got some great goaltending from Jack again.”
The win was a team effort. Freshman forward Steven Esposito, sophomore defender David Shaby, sophomore forward Peter Jorgensen and senior forwards Niko Masotta and Dakota Richardson all netted goals in the win. Violet freshman goalie Jack Nebe was outstanding again, and has been key in their late season success. In pool play, Nebe carried them through their game against Northern Arizona University. Cosentino raved about the composure and performance of his freshman between the pipes.
“Against NAU Jack Nebe was phenomenal in the net,” Cosentino said. “He won the game for us.”
They won that game 3-0 supported by the backbone of good defense and great goaltending. In yesterday’s semifinal, however, it was a combination of high-octane offense and stifling defense. The Violets were a machine on offense, but their effort on the defensive end never lacked, even at the end of the game when they were winning handily. Defenders were still sacrificing their bodies and diving on the ice to block Lindenwood shots as late as five minutes to play in the third period.
The Violets’ heart and effort has been the story of their season. In their pool play match against Grand Valley State University, which clinched their trip to the semifinal game against Lindenwood, they came back from being down two goals twice to go onto a 6-5 overtime win.
“It was one of the most emotionally draining games I have ever been a part of as a coach,” Cosentino said.
This game will be the Violet seniors’ last, and younger teammates are hoping to make this the most memorable finish possible.
“We have a team with a lot of seniors, so tomorrow’s game takes on a totally new feel,” Nebe said. “As a freshman I want to give it my all on the ice tomorrow. These seniors have been special leaders.”
After rolling Lindenwood in the semifinal, they will have to refocus to gear up for FGCU in the final Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Eagles are a skilled team loaded with talent. They ousted Arizona State 3-2 in the semifinal. If the Violets play the way they are capable of, and leave everything on the ice the way they have all season, they will have a great chance at hoisting the national championship trophy tonight.
“We are proud to represent NYU and New York City in the national championship game,” Cosentino said. “We are going to give our best effort.”
A version of this article was pushed in the Tuesday, March 24 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]