After an extensive break following the SECHL playoffs, today marked the NYU men’s hockey team’s first stab at reclaiming the glory they reached last March. The Violets began their quest to repeat as national champions at this year’s American Collegiate Hockey Association tournament, hosted by West Chester University in Pennsylvania, by taking on Pennsylvania State University in the first game of pool play.
Though the game was much more competitive than the final score of 8-2 would suggest, NYU took it handily, dominating before the first period was even over.
After a PSU kill early on, NYU got two quick ones, beginning with a goal from junior forward David Morgan followed by freshman forward John Kowalewski — a goal which the announcer went so far as to compare to the stylings of Wayne Gretzky. Penn State responded however, cutting the lead in half at 5:46.
The period flew by with some strong play on both ends. NYU got back up a man on a PSU high-sticking call at 14:16 and freshman forward Jack Orne capitalized, grabbing himself a goal to give NYU the 3-1 advantage on an assist from defender Evan Ripley.
With 2:30 remaining and some heavy traffic at the Penn State net, the Violets began their march to a blowout as sophomore forward Michael Conslato tipped in a Ripley shot to make it 4-1.
PSU came out running in the second, punctuated by a quality attempt on net that was beautifully blocked by Ripley. The announcers kept up their theme of comparing Violets to decorated NHL players when they dubbed the stop a Chara-like move.
Tension rose with 8:53 remaining in the second when senior forward Denis O’Hara got tossed in the box. PSU tried to use the man advantage as an opportunity to capitalize on their gained momentum, but the team buckled down and secured the penalty kill.
If the first period was an exercise in speed and skill, the second was certainly where things got chippy. With just over five minutes remaining, offsetting penalties were dealt. Nothing materialized for either team, but once both sides were back at full strength, NYU came back in a big way, with Orne’s second of the night putting the Violets up 5-1. The goal to make it 6-1 came seconds later from junior defenseman Charles Arsenescu.
And as if a five-goal advantage wasn’t sufficient going into the third period, freshman forward Gil Lipkin scored a seventh for good measure, prompting PSU to switch goaltenders for the final period.
On a PSU high-sticking call freshman forward Mason Gallegos tossed in NYU’s eighth. The rest of the third was just for fun.
Penn State got another opportunity on the man advantage to will themselves from shame, but senior goaltender Sam Daley was stellar. Head Coach Chris Cosentino was pleased with the way the Violets executed the gameplan they came into the contest with, but knows that one win early on will not be enough to replicate last year’s magic.
“We wanted to come out and have a good start and play a fast game,” Cosentino said. “We have a ton of respect for Penn State and we knew if we gave them any time and space out there they would definitely take advantage of it. So we pressured well and pushed the pace. We have to crank it up even more tomorrow against Utah State.”
The game’s last few minutes were a performance in Violet puck possession and then the buzzer sounded. 8-2 good guys. The Violets continue their title defense tomorrow when they square off against Utah State. You can watch the livestream or check the Violets’ Twitter for updates.
Email Rachel Ruecker at [email protected]