Hockey Wins SECHL Championship


Rachel Ruecker

The NYU hockey team won this weekend’s SECHL playoff tournament in Montclair, New Jersey. Over spring break, the Violets will compete in the ACHA Division II National Tournament to be held in Columbus, Ohio.

Rachel Ruecker, Senior Editor

After earning an auto bid to the ACHA National Tournament in Ohio next month, the Violet hockey team went all in at this weekend’s SECHL playoff tournament in Montclair, NJ. The team won the tournament, dominating the University of New Hampshire 4-2 Saturday in the semis and triumphing 2-1 on Sunday in the championship game against William Paterson University to earn the distinction of Super East champions.

Saturday against UNH, the Violets started the scoring thanks to junior forward Michael Conslato, who is no stranger to the back of the net. After killing an interference penalty from senior defenseman Evan Ripley, NYU rode high into the first intermission.

In the second, after fending off a hungry NYU power play, UNH couldn’t keep the Violets tamed at even-strength. With just 29 seconds left, freshman forward Scott Mulligan doubled the NYU lead, with assists from sophomore forwards Mason Gallegos and Keaton Baum.

The third wasn’t quite smooth sailing for the Violets, as UNH scored while NYU sophomore forward Matthew Welch was put away for elbowing, cutting the Violet lead in half.  After a little tussle resulting in a 4-on-4 going unused by both teams, UNH evened the score with just under three minutes remaining. Extra time wasn’t needed, however, thanks to Baum scoring the go-ahead goal with 36 seconds on the clock. Sophomore forward John Kowalewski got the empty-netter insurance goal with six seconds on the clock, propelling them into a Sunday game with a championship on the line.

On Sunday, NYU once again faced off against William Paterson University after shutting them out in their regular season finale.

The game followed an eerily similar trend, with Conslato getting the Violets’ first and the team later killing a Ripley penalty. The Violets led after one.

In the second, NYU killed another Ripley penalty before getting a man-advantage of its own. The team couldn’t capitalize, despite multiple opportunities. Late in the second, Kowalewksi scored the Violets’ second of the night, giving them a small cushion for the third.

NYU spent much of the third short-handed but handily defended itself. WPU got within one at 15:40 and fought hard to tie the game and force overtime, but NYU — thanks to a stellar performance from freshman goaltender Adam Salisbury — stood tall and took home the trophy.

Head Coach Chris Cosentino was thrilled his team got to experience a high-pressure win in the postseason before heading to National but said the team will still have plenty to work on before the March 15-19 tournament.

“Going up against two very good teams with the late game Saturday and an early game Sunday was an incredible test for our young team,” Cosentino said. “[Cavanaugh] and [Salisbury] were outstanding in net and the entire team stood strong when things were not going our way. I am proud of everyone for this accomplishment every player, coach, manager — it was a complete team effort to get this done. We have a lot to work on over the next few weeks, because the past two games exposed areas that need improvement.”

Sophomore defenseman Eric Boyda echoed Cosentino’s sentiments, pleased with how the team delivered in high-stakes scenarios.

“It was a really great learning experience for our team. Last year, we lost the SECHL championship game, so we weren’t able to go through the process of closing out teams in big moments,” Boyda said. “Killing a penalty to end a 2-1 game is the type of experience we need heading into nationals. We can say we’ve been through those tough situations now. We can play with the confidence that no matter the situation, we can succeed because we’ve already done it. We’re practicing and playing well, but we’re still focused on being better because we know we can be and I think we will have a good mix of focus, confidence and positivity heading into the national tournament.”

The Violets will be back over spring break for the ACHA Division II National Tournament in Columbus, Oh.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 21 print edition. Email Rachel Ruecker at [email protected].