“All things possible.” The St. Mark’s Spartans (8-1-0) certainly lived up to that credo on Friday night (Jan. 26), blanking the Delaware Military Academy Seahawks (7-2-0), 5-0, at the Patriot Ice Center in Newark, Del.
The Spartans, who honoured eight of their senior players in a pregame ceremony, played all three zones exceptionally well the duration of the game, disrupting DMA’s advances in the neutral zone and slot and consistently working the puck forward out of their own territory. Goalie Billy Pierce earned his first shutout of the season with a 19-save performance.
Will Ralsten opened the scoring for St. Mark’s 97 seconds into the game, receiving an outlet pass from Kelly Stroik before connecting on a wraparound to the right corner. Senior centre Patrick Swain notched his 12th and 13th goals of the season in unassisted fashion, beating DMA goalie Anthony Guerrieri under his glove at 13:26 in the first with a wrist shot from the low slot and connecting with a top-shelf wrist shot on a breakaway which originated from the Seahawks’ blue line at 10:50 in the second period.
Up 3-0 through two periods, the Spartans added a pair early in the final frame as the Seahawks unravelled. Graham Kline crossed through the mid-slot and launched a wrist shot into the top right corner of the DMA net for a shorthanded goal 2:33 into the third, and Owen Boyle recorded his first goal of the season at the 5:22 mark, redirecting a Swain chance from the left dot past Guerrieri. With just over six minutes to go, Seahawks defenceman Kameryn Starkey was issued a game misconduct for his role in an altercation with Ralsten which arose after Starkey levelled a check on Kevin Groves in the St. Mark’s zone which saw the senior winger slow to return to his feet but able to return to the game two shifts later.
The Spartans’ blueliners backchecked strongly to render DMA—including leading scorer Markus Cook (22 goals in his first seven games)—impotent offensively.
In all, St. Mark’s fired 32 shots on goal at Guerrieri, yet were unsuccessful in four power-play attempts. DMA failed to convert on seven instances with a man advantage.
The Spartans, now 6-0-0 in Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League (ICSHL) South Division play, meet Salesianum for the first time this season on Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 31). Delaware Military Academy will look to rebound from a two-game losing skid on Monday evening (Jan. 29), when they return to the Patriot Ice Center to face the Msgr. Bonner Friars after defeating them, 7-4, in December. Both games will air on Delaware Hockey Night Radio.
Editor’s Note: Scoring corrections made in a postgame review following initial official records—to include DMA’s total shots on goal and the assist on the Ralsten goal—have been accounted for.