Newark, Del. — A three-goal second period lifted the University of Delaware Division 2 men’s hockey team (20-9-0) out of an early deficit and propelled them to a season sweep of Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Conference rival Rowan (10-9-2) by way of a 4-1 win on Friday night (Feb. 1) at Fred Rust Arena.
Despite registering 11 shots on goal and watching another three be blocked by Profs defenders Sam Ahern and Connor MacEwen, errant passes in the attacking zone caused the Blue Hens further grief and enabled Rowan to control much of the first period. After Rowan’s leading scorer Ryan Conlin buried his 30th goal of the season 13 seconds into a Mike Hicken slashing minor, the Blue Hens dug in to kill off a two-man disadvantage late in the frame and carried that momentum into a strong second period.
Crisper passes helped the Blue Hens maintain a stronger attacking-zone presence through the final 40 minutes, but position in front of the crease proved most significant with three of Delaware’s four goals coming from within 12 feet of the Rowan net and two of them off rebounds. At 1:59 in the middle period, Ryan Morse tied the game with a net-front put-back of an Alec Rankin rebound. In the seventh minute, Jeremy DeWit generated a breakaway from his own blue line after stealing the puck from MacEwen at the point, but a Kyle Rink stick save — one of 33 stops from the Rowan goalie — kept the game tied until the final 3:12 of the period. While defending the right point against a potential Rowan breakout, Eddie Martorella scored the game-winning goal for Delaware with a long-range wrist shot over Rink’s stick, only to be followed by a two-on-one rush finished by Devin LeBlanc 21 seconds later to lift the Blue Hens to a 3-1 intermission lead.
DeWit made up for his futile breakaway with 94 seconds left in the contest, sealing Delaware’s win late in a 15-shot third period when he posted in front of the Rowan goal and buried the rebound of a LeBlanc shot from the right dot.
In addition to his second-period goal, LeBlanc added two assists, as did Shane Moran. Rankin accounted for three assists.
Delaware goalie Chris Demas improved to 7-3-0 on the season with a 34-save effort.
In their Nov. 17 meeting in New Jersey, Delaware defeated Rowan, 4-3.
The Blue Hens, who have won six of their last seven games, host Rider on Saturday (Feb. 2) at Fred Rust Arena at 5:25 p.m. Air time on Delaware Hockey Night Radio is 5:15 p.m.