Following a 5-4 overtime win earlier in the season, the University of Delaware Division 3 men’s hockey team completed a season sweep of the Stockton (NJ) Ospreys with an 8-2 victory on Saturday night (Feb. 3) at Gold Arena in Newark, Del.
After a scoreless first 12 minutes, the Blue Hens started to wear away at the short Stockton roster, which was depleted to just nine skaters for Saturday’s contest. Defenceman Matt Vermont, second on the Hens squad with 19 assists, tallied his first goal of the season after splitting a pair of Osprey defenders and firing point-blank from the high slot at 12:07. Marty Coverdale and Justin Staropoli added further first-period goals, both from close range.
Delaware’s momentum continued into the second period, when Steven Palomba potted his first of two goals of the night at 1:04. Palomba’s 20th goal of the season came off a one-timer from the mid-slot off a rebound from a Nick Scafidi chance, lifting the Hens to a 4-0 advantage. Penalty trouble for the Hens late in the middle frame cost goalie Gabe Nadell a shutout, as Stockton’s Evan Hall connected for a power-play goal with exactly six minutes remaining.
The Hens came back swinging in the third, recording three quick goals in the first eight minutes of the period to go up 7-1. Shane Saladis redirected a Staropoli shot past Stockton goalie Michael Corella 2:20 in, and Dylan Garrett earned his 10th and 11th of the season (the latter on a two-man advantage) in the seventh and eighth minutes. After Zachery Harmel tallied a short-handed goal to bring the Ospreys within five at the 8:11 mark, physicality took the place of offensive firepower. Harmel and Delaware’s Eric Smith were at the centre of a mid-period dustup which saw both Smith and teammate Ben Kahan receive ten-minute misconducts.
Palomba made the last Delaware power play a successful one with 91 seconds remaining in the game. Halfway through a cross-checking minor issued to Hall, Palomba fired his second goal of the game and the Hens’ eighth of the match past Corella directly off a left-circle faceoff.
Nadell improved to 6-4-0 with the victory between the pipes, stopping 28 of 30 Stockton shots. Corella drops to 5-8-2 after saving 30 of 38 Delaware shots.
Two regular-season games remain for the Division 3 Blue Hens (16-9-2). They host Widener on Friday (Feb. 9) before travelling to Maryland for a Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference (DVCHC) divisional matchup on Saturday (Feb. 10). As always, visit dehockeynight.com for news and notes.