Blue Hens

ACHA D2: Rankin, Bryson Double Up; Hens Beat VT, 4-1

Vinton, Va. — The University of Delaware Division 2 men’s hockey team pounced early and dug in to maintain their ground throughout Saturday night’s (Jan. 26) 4-1 win over Virginia Tech at the Lancerlot Sports Complex. Seniors Alec Rankin and Steve Bryson each accounted for two goals, while Chris Demas backstopped the Blue Hens (19-8-0) to victory with a 28-save effort.

Delaware consistently generated odd-man rushes into the Virginia Tech zone through the first period, and the second line set the tone in their first shift of the game. Rankin redirected a Shane Moran wrist shot from the right side past Hokies goalie Collin Couture to put Delaware on the board just 91 seconds in, and the penalty killing unit set up an end-to-end fast break that resulted in a two-on-one rush and the Hens’ second goal at 3:54, just 15 seconds into an Eddie Martorella holding penalty. Deep in the Delaware zone, Dan Demas fired a stretch pass through neutral ice to Jeremy DeWit, who then connected with Bryson to lift the Hens to a 2-0 advantage.

Rankin’s second goal, a top-shelf wrist shot from mid-slot from a give-and-go with linemate Shane Moran, put Delaware up 3-0 with 6:26 remaining in the first period, but the Blue Hens were forced to rely on their defensive core to protect their advantage through the final 40 minutes.

Despite recording 11 shots on goal in the second period, the Hokies deprived Delaware of quality scoring chances while themselves catching a lucky bounce to foil Demas’s shutout hopes. With just under four minutes remaining in the frame, Andrew Calandra fired the puck toward the Delaware net from the right corner, and as defenceman Dylan Knox attempted to field it in front of the crease, it deflected off him and in to cut the Blue Hens’ lead to 3-1.

While the Hokies attempted to mount a third-period rally, peppering Demas with 12 shots to Delaware’s nine, the Blue Hens found an opportunity to take advantage of pucks rebounding of Couture’s pads from initial shots. At 8:57, Bryson jumped on the rebound of an Andrew Marciniak rifle from the point, putting back his tenth goal of the season to seal a 4-1 victory.

Notes: Delaware killed off all five penalties they were assessed, but failed to convert on two power plays . . . Demas left the game briefly in the second period due to an equipment issue; Stephen Odgers recorded one save in 5:51 of relief.

The Blue Hens take on Liberty on Sunday (Jan. 27); air time on Delaware Hockey Night Radio is 1:45 p.m. In their last meeting, the Blue Hens earned their first win over the Flames in four years.

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