Score: Elmira College 5, Bryn Athyn College 2
Records: Elmira (6-6-1), Bryn Athyn (5-5-0)
Location: Murray Athletic Center – Pine Valley, N.Y.
PINE VALLEY, N.Y. -- A trio of three-point performances by linemates Matthew Cuce '20, Nick Ford '20 and Connor Powell '20 led the Elmira College men's ice hockey team to a 5-2 victory over visiting Bryn Athyn College. The win for Elmira brought its overall record this season to an even .500, as the Soaring Eagles concluded their season-long five-game homestand at the Murray Athletic Center.
Elmira dictated the opening 20 minutes of action with its physical play and aggressive forecheck. Those efforts helped the Soaring Eagles hold an 11-4 lead in shots on goal, however, EC would skate into the first intermission with a 1-1 tie.
Bryn Athyn's Vojtech Luza scored the game-opening goal at the 10:32 mark on a rush. After a pair of touch passes from Connor Devereux and Jimmy Lockamyeir, Luza carried the puck into the slot before beating a screened Gennaro Anzevino '21 glove-side for the score.
The Lions' lead lasted less than four minutes, as Nick Ford '20 extended his goal streak to a career-best five consecutive games with a tally at the 13:47 mark. Passes from Matthew Cuce '20 and Connor Powell '20 set up a close shot from just outside the slot for Ford, who tucked the puck into the upper right netting for the score.
Elmira claimed its first lead of the night just 22 seconds into the second stanza, as Cuce scored his sixth goal of the season. Powell began the scoring play with a pass to Ford, who centered the puck to Cuce in the slot. The pass created a great deal of space for the Fort Myers, Florida, native, who Cuce slid the puck through the five-hole of Bryn Athyn goalie McKenzie Chalmer.
The Purple and Gold went on to outshoot the Lions, 21-7, in the second period, but EC was unable to capitalize on any of its chances. However, Elmira did a fine job in the period denying Bryn Athyn's power-play unit, which entered today's contest ranked fourth in the country in power-play efficiency, as the Soaring Eagles held the Lions scoreless and allowed just one shot on goal during their two chances.
Rookie Joe Smith '21 scored his first career goal to double the Elmira lead, 3-1, at 7:48 in the third period. A pass along the boards by Mitch Atkins '19 found Blake O'Neill '19 at the point, where he fired a shot towards the left post. Smith was camped out in front of the crease and redirected the puck top-shelf for the score, which would eventually go down as tonight's game-winning tally.
EC's two-goal lead stood for four minutes until Bryn Athyn's Connor Buick trimmed his team's deficit to just one goal at the 11:50 mark. The tally was his second of the season and was assisted by Anthony DePetres and Connor Devereux.
The Lions hoped to break through for a game-tying goal, but a pair of late scores 16 seconds apart by the Soaring Eagles put the game out of reach. EC's first of two goals came from the blade of Cuce, who collected a rebound on the right post and tucked it into the open net for the insurance goal at 17:47. Ford and Powell picked up assists on the Cuce goal, which gave all three skaters a trio of points on the night. Spencer MacLean '20 concluded the night's scoring with his sixth of the season, as he buried a one-timer from the high slot on a pass from Anthony Parrucci '20. Linemate Andrew Pucci '20 was also credited with an assist, as he created the turnover in the zone that set up the goal.
EC's starting netminder, Anzevino, finished with 18 saves in a winning effort. He made eight saves in the third period to collect his third win of the year and improve to 3-2-1.
In His Own Words…
Head Coach Aaron Saul '98 shares his thoughts on Elmira's win tonight…
"We knew coming in that they [Bryn Athyn] were going to be up for this game. They were 3-0 against teams in our conference. They are an independent team, so they do not have much to play for in terms of playoffs. I think that they circled this game and said that this could be a big one for them. I loved our pace. I thought we controlled play for a majority of the night. It's good to finish with a win."
Coach Saul talks about EC's top line of Cuce, Ford and Powell's success this season…
"In our practices, they are one of our hardest-working group. It has been showing on the ice. They have so much chemistry together and they feed off of each other. They almost know where they are going to go before the puck gets there. That is going to be a scary line come senior year. They are doing scary things this year. When those three guys are going, we usually have success."
Coach Saul talks about the success EC experienced on the penalty kill against the country's fourth-ranked power-play unit…
"We wanted to pressure them and we wanted to take away time and space. Any time you get a power play, you have time and can make some plays. We wanted to be aggressive and be all over them to not let them make plays, so credit to our PK guys. We put a lot of pressure on them and I thought we did pretty well."
Coach Saul talks about EC's mindset going into the break .500…
"We all know in our locker room that we are better than a .500 team. There are learning points to every game that we played in this year. We definitely have to improve on a few things. We are a young team that is learning the hard way and hard lessons are tough sometimes. It could have been better for sure, but it will give us momentum for the second half of the year. We will work on a few things over break and try to get better, but we know that we have something special and that we have to bring that every night."
News and Notes
- Elmira heads into the holiday break with a .500 record at 6-6-1.
- EC's five-game homestand came to a close tonight (3-2-0).
- Elmira held Bryn Athyn, who entered the game ranked fourth in the country in power-play efficiency, without a goal on four extra-skater chances.
- Ford extended his goal streak to a career-high five consecutive games (6g).
- Ford has scored in 10 of Elmira's 13 games this season and has points in 11 of the 13 contests.
- Powell's point streak increased to five straight games (2g-10a-12p).
- Cuce produced his second multi-goal game of the year.
- Cuce has logged five multi-point games this season.
- Powell registered his sixth multi-point game of the year.
- Smith scored his first collegiate goal.
- MacLean scored his third goal in EC's last four games; Elmira went 3-1-0 during that time.
- Bryn Athyn was previously undefeated against a trio of UCHC teams, until suffering tonight's three-goal loss.
The Elmira men will enjoy an extended break until they compete next on Friday, January 5, when the Soaring Eagles take on Connecticut College in the opening round of the Boston Landing Collegiate Invitational. Puck drop is set for 3:30 p.m.