After outscoring their last two American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) opponents by a combined 15-5, the University of Delaware Division 2 men’s hockey team looks to carry their momentum into a second straight southern road trip this weekend.
The barnstorming Blue Hens, currently ranked eighth in the ACHA Southeast Region with a 16-10-0 record, travel to the Commonwealth of Virginia to face off against the No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies (14-5-1) on Saturday (Jan. 20) afternoon before a Sunday (Jan. 21) rematch with the No. 3 Liberty Flames after a narrow 4-3 defeat to them at home in November.
The Hens were scheduled to host the Hokies on Dec. 10, but that game was abandoned due to inclement weather along the Interstate 81 corridor precluding the Virginia Tech team from safely making the northward journey. As such, the teams last met at the Berglund Center (formerly the Roanoke Civic Center) in Roanoke, Va. in January of 2017, where Delaware completed a series sweep of Virginia Tech with an 8-1 win. Current Hens Jeremy deWit and Steve Bryson both found the back of the net in that game, while Ryan Morse, RJ LaSpina, and Mike Hicken joined Bryson in the assist column.
Despite the Hens winning the last four meetings between the two teams, coach Vince Falkowski stresses the need to keep the foot on the accelerator right from the outset of Saturday’s matinee.
“We can’t start slow against either of these teams, because they are both good teams,” said Falkowski. “We need to focus on defense all the while yet keep the scoring up. The Virginia trip is always tough for us because of the bus travel. Hopefully going the night before can eliminate the ‘bus legs’.”
On Sunday morning, Delaware head to the LaHaye Ice Center in Lynchburg, Va. to face the No. 3 Liberty Flames (11-2-1). In their November matchup, the Hens took a 3-1 lead early in the second before the Flames’ Jamie Crane tied the game with 3:46 remaining and Paul Lamoureux notched the game-winner 47 seconds later.
Though familiarity often breeds contempt, for Falkowski, it spawns respect for his Hens’ foes this weekend.
“Virginia Tech is a former MACH (Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey) team, so that rivalry is still going strong, and Liberty is, well, Liberty. Always a perennial powerhouse, especially in their barn.”
Visit www.dehockeynight.com for game recaps throughout the weekend. Follow the Hens on Twitter for real-time updates on game days.