Hamilton, N.J. — The third time was a charm, indeed.
After two regular season losses to Rider, the fifth-seeded University of Delaware Division 2 men’s hockey team embraced their role as the underdog in Friday’s (Feb. 14) Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Conference Tournament quarterfinal matchup with the Broncs and rolled to a commanding 6-0 win at Ice Land.
Senior goali Stephen Odgers was instrumental in the Blue Hens’ victory, stopping all 43 shots he faced, including 26 in the second period alone.
The Hens set the tone early when junior Kyle Sapia launched a shot from the right point past Rider goalie Angelo Perri just 57 seconds into the game. Freshman Bobby LaBrosse doubled the Hens’ lead at 5:39, connecting on a Cal Raymore setup with a 12-foot chip shot over Perri’s glove.
Penalty trouble late in the first period and early in the second enabled Rider to shift momentum in their favour, but the Blue Hens’ penalty kill negated four straight Broncs power plays — including 1:08 of a two-man advantage in the middle frame.
With 2:17 left in the second, Ben Bergman punched the rebound of a Bobby LaBrosse shot past Perri, followed by a bar-down laser from Devin LeBlanc just nine seconds later to lift Delaware to a 4-0 lead.
Bergman accounted for his second goal 1:36 into the third, when he redirected a Nick Petrus shot from the point past new Rider goalie Eric Lineman, and Ryan Johnson sealed the 6-0 victory at 3:34, when he finished a tic-tac-toe which originated from Shane Moran winning a puck battle in the right corner of the Rider zone.
Perri was relieved at the end of the second period after stopping 16 of 20 shots; Lineman saved 9 of 11 in the third for Rider.
Delaware takes on top-seeded Liberty in second-round action on Saturday (Feb. 15); full coverage will be available on Delaware Hockey Night.