Lawrenceville, N.J. — All three skaters on the University of Delaware Division 2 men’s hockey team’s top line scored goals and netminder Justin Nevinger earned his first win as a Blue Hen on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 15), when their side completed a two-game road trip with a 4-2 victory over The College of New Jersey at the Loucks Ice Center.
The Blue Hens wasted no time setting the tone, firing the first of their 25 first-period shots on Lions’ goalie Mike Lojewski just eight seconds into the contest. After the Hens’ second line worked to establish position on the initial shift, Devin LeBlanc tipped the puck over Lojewski and into the net from a Ryan Johnson shot at the left half wall at 1:21 to establish the lead. In the fifth minute, Will Jowett generated a breakaway chance in an attempt to double the Hens’ lead, but was denied on a 12-foot shot.
After neither team could convert on their initial power play opportunities midway through the first period, Delaware recorded a pair of rapid-fire goals — Shane Moran off a Johnson centring pass at 10:26, followed by Johnson from a LeBlanc feed at 11:07 — to extend their lead to 3-0. With just over six minutes remaining in the opening period, Ben Bergman darted into the New Jersey zone up the left wing boards, circled two defenders, and walked the puck in for an unassisted goal to cap a four-goal frame.
With Jowett ruled off for interference with three minutes remaining, Ryan Anderson put the Lions on the board with a top-shelf backhand goal from just in front of the Delaware cage.
Down by three goals 20 minutes in, the Lions fortified their defence in the second period, keeping the Hens scoreless and controlling zone entry far better, but they could not muster a single shot until the ninth minute of the frame. A late barrage of shots in the final 30 seconds proved fruitless as well, as Nevinger sprawled across the crease for four rapid-fire saves to preserve Delaware’s 4-1 lead at the second intermission.
The Hens similarly struggled to generate any meaningful momentum in the third period, largely stunted by three penalties — one for too many men on the ice at 10:33 followed by subsequent infractions against defencemen Tyler Swift and Nick Petrus. The Lions managed to pot their second goal with the man advantage as well, as Sean Leonard beat Nevinger with 7:38 to go in regulation, but could gain no further into the Hens’ advantage.
Nevinger saved 14 of 16 shots faced in his Delaware debut, while Lojewski stopped 48 of 52 shots faced in defeat.
The Blue Hens will carry a 3-0-0 record back into the Garden State on Saturday (Sept. 21), when they face Montclair State at Floyd Hall Arena.