Blue Hens

CHF: Rich Hat Trick Propels Hens Past UPJ

Luke Rich led the Division 3 Blue Hens with a hat trick in their 10-4 win over Pitt Johnstown. (Tisa Della-Volpe)

Newark, Del. — The floodgates burst open in the second period at Gold Arena on Friday night (Jan. 17), when the University of Delaware Division 3 men’s hockey team posted back-to-back four-goal periods to trounce Pitt-Johnstown, 10-4.

Luke Rich led the Blue Hens with a hat trick, and Ryan D’Emilia accounted for two goals and an assist. Goalie Gabe Nadell improved to 6-4-2 on the season with a 26-save effort.

Pitt-Johnstown stormed into the Delaware zone off the initial face-off, but an apparent goal 40 seconds into the game was negated as a result of the Delaware net being dislodged. At the 5:15 mark, defenceman Braden Rishell put the Hens on the board, fielding a D’Emilia back-door pass and firing a one-timer from the point off the right post and past Ice Cats goalie Andrew Burkett. After Pitt-Johnstown’s Hunter Stoy tied the game at 7:46 off a Zack Szolek rebound, D’Emilia found the back of the net himself at 15:21 — connecting with a 25-foot wrist shot from a Brandon LaSpina centring pass — to claim a 2-1 lead for Delaware.

A defensive-zone turnover from the Hens enabled Pitt-Johnstown to tie the game at 2-2 six minutes into the second period, when leading scorer Kyle Eckenrod stole the puck for an easy net-front finish. From that point on, Delaware outpaced the Ice Cats, reeling off four goals in the frame — one each from D’Emilia, Rich, Jack Mastronardi and Ryan Bryson — to go up 6-3 at the second intermission.

Rich completed his hat trick with two shorthanded goals in the third period — he beat two Pitt-Johnstown defenders to generate a successful breakaway at 9:55, and then connected on a coast-to-coast attack set up by blueliner Matt Vermont at 13:26. Defencemen Ben Kahan and Carson Moore scored Delaware’s other two third-period goals, both from above the dots.

Delaware leading scorer LaSpina was kept scoreless, but accounted for three assists. Austin DeGrange and Ian Keller scored the Ice Cats’ other two goals, while Burkett took his fourth loss of the year after stopping 28 of 38 shots faced.

The Blue Hens travel to the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown, Pa., next weekend to face Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Friday (Jan. 24), Pitt-Johnstown on Saturday (Jan. 25), and California University of Pennsylvania on Sunday (Jan. 26).

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