Blue Hens

ACHA D2: Odgers Backstops Hens To Weekend Sweep

(Tisa Della-Volpe)

The University of Delaware Division 2 men’s hockey team (18-8-0) ran their current win streak to four this weekend, backstopped by Stephen Odgers to a commanding 10-2 win over The College of New Jersey on Friday night (Jan. 18) and a 4-0 shutout of Stevenson on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 19).

Delaware 10, New Jersey 2

Lawrenceville, N.J. — The Blue Hens established a dominant presence from the outset of Friday’s game against New Jersey, and their 10-2 victory at the Loucks Ice Center was a complete team effort. Nine different Blue Hens skaters scored goals while all but three Delaware skaters accounted for at least one point.

Devin LeBlanc led the charge with two first-period goals and an assist, while Steve Bryson and Shane Moran each contributed a goal and two assists, senior captain Alec Rankin a goal and an assist, both Jeremy DeWit and Ryan Johnson added two assists each, and first-year defenceman Mike Nauman accounted for his first collegiate goal. In all, the Hens pelted the Lions’ goaltending tandem of Mike Lojewski and Albert Gregorio with 40 shots, while Odgers stopped 19 of 21 shots he faced.

Delaware 4, Stevenson 0

Reisterstown, Md. — After shutting Stevenson out, 7-0, in their Oct. 12 meeting at Fred Rust Arena, the Blue Hens maintained a strong presence in all three zones to once again blank the Mustangs, 4-0, in a physical and at times testy matchup at the Reisterstown Sportsplex.

All four Delaware goals were the result of battles won for net-front position, with three of them coming off rebounds. With Tyler Stickley and Devin LeBlanc issued matching roughing minors at 1:34 into the first period, the Hens were able to capitalise on open ice. Matt Tofte fielded a centring pass from Alec Rankin before chipping a backhand shot past Stevenson goalie Pat Schena to give Delaware their lone first-period goal 3:07. Midway through the frame, Ryan Morse disrupted a Thomas Foschini breakaway from the Delaware blue line, and despite the Hens going short-handed as a result of a slashing minor to Morse, their penalty-killing unit kept Stevenson scoreless on the ensuing power play as well as 10 others throughout the game.

The Hens capitalised on a man advantage early in the second period to double their lead. With Jake Sholders serving a hooking minor to start the frame, Alec Rankin crashed the net to poke the rebound of a Morse shot into the left corner of the Stevenson goal, and his 10th tally of the year lifted the Hens to a 2-0 advantage. With 3:10 left in the period and Schena sprawled out of the net to deny Tofte, Ryan Johnson charged into the slot to pot the rebound, capping a 20-shot onslaught from Delaware in the second.

Despite accumulating — and killing off — seven penalties in the third, including 1:51 of five-on-three action, Delaware kept the Mustangs scoreless to the end, maintaining strong low-slot presence. Blueliners Andrew Marciniak and Dylan Knox established themselves well in front of Odgers and were instrumental in the strong Blue Hens’ penalty kill. Well after John Ryan fired back a Marciniak rebound 5:50 into the frame to lift the Hens to a 4-0 lead, it looked as though the Mustangs had gotten one back in the final 3:29. However, Aaron Rovenolt’s net-front redirect into the Delaware goal was nullified due to him having played the puck with a high stick.

Odgers saved all 25 shots he faced to lift his record to 9-2-0, while Schena stopped 45 of 49 shots in defeat.

Delaware continues their road swing next weekend, travelling to Virginia Tech on Saturday evening (Jan. 26) and Liberty on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 27). Both games will air on Delaware Hockey Night Radio.

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