Hockey team splits weekend with Syracuse
Captain Matthew Ganci, a forward, and the Bulls split their weekend series with the Syracuse Orange in two hotly contested games. Courtesy of UB Hockey Team
What do you get when you mix an orange, ice and six periods of thrilling hockey? A weekend split with the Syracuse Orange.
The men's ice hockey team (11-3 North Eastern Collegiate Hockey League) split its two games over the weekend against the Syracuse Orange (8-4 NECHL).
The Bulls won Friday's game in a shootout, after being tied 2-2 in the third period. Syracuse won Saturday's contest in the same way, with a 4-4 tie ending the third.
"We know Syracuse well enough, " said Bulls' assistant coach Steve Glick. "Every time we play them, it's always a one-goal game; they often go into overtime. They have four lines that can go, they fore-check hard, they are always a tough game for us, so we knew going into it and we prepared our guys this week. Did I expect two shootouts? No, but we expected to battle for it."
The Bulls came out strong in the first game Friday night at the Tennity Ice Pavilion. Senior Chris Covel scored two minutes into the game. Covels' linemate, sophomore Luke Swimline, tallied the assist in the upstanding performance for the line.
"I think the biggest thing that won't show up on the score sheet is the play of Timmy Root, Chris Covel and Luke Swimline," Glick said. "They played against the other team's top line the entire weekend and every time they scored a goal and we needed to shut their momentum down, those three played and they did an unbelievable job doing so."
'Cuse tied the game halfway through the period, but Buffalo took a 2-1 lead into intermission. Sophomore Michael Schalberg scored the go-ahead goal, with the defensive line of freshman Dimitrios Koutsomitis and senior Craig Meany, using their deadly partnership to garner the assist.
"We love those two together because of what they bring to the ice," Glick said. "I think that D.K.'s [Koutsomitis] ability to move the puck and be offensive and jump up into the play and take chances is complemented perfectly by Craig's knowledge of the game and his ability to kind of back up and be able to support D.K. in the play if it does come the other way when mistakes happen. I think that they are a perfect pair and that there is no reason we would mess with that chemistry."
Syracuse knotted up the game with their second goal 52 seconds into the second period. Both teams maintained the defensive gridlock into the third period and well past five minutes of overtime. In the end, after a four-round shootout, freshman Eric Nestler scored the game-winning goal.
Saturday night did not start off as quick. Halfway through the first, the illustrious line of Schalberg, junior Tim Benner and senior Ben Lantz-Subtelny scored the first of four goals of the night.
After the Bulls went up 2-0 early in the second period, the Orange came back to tie the game at two going into the third.
In the third period, the teams exchanged scoring blows with the first two coming from Lantz-Subtelny and Schalberg. Syracuse scored two goals in the last four minutes of play to lock up the game at 4-4 heading into overtime.
"Since we've been able to put this [line] together, it's obvious; the results speak for themselves." Glick said. "Benner and Ben [Lantz-Subtelny] have a natural connection, they seem to click right away and Mike's work ethic and ability to play center is the perfect fit. I think putting those three together was just bound to work, from the moment we put them together."
The shootout would not turn so favorably for the Bulls this time around, and after five rounds, the Orange took the victory.
The Bulls return home this upcoming week and play the Niagara Purple Eagles on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., before opening up a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Panthers, Friday at 8:30 p.m.
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