On Saturday Feb. 11, the men’s ice hockey team ensured its final win of the 2016-17 regular season against Marist College, resulting in a final score of 2-1.
The puck dropped a little after 4:15 p.m. at the McCann Ice Arena, thus beginning the first period. Marist College mainly kept the pressure on Montclair State in the first period, but goaltender Bradley Odgers made sure a single puck didn’t get past him. The Red Hawks played some strong defense after Daniel Abaunza received a two-minute hooking minor penalty about nine minutes in. A tough 20-minute battle ended the first period with a score of 0-0.
As the second period was underway, both teams totaled six penalties before Montclair State’s Michael Buckel took it upon himself to score an unassisted goal at 17:21. Marist College received one more penalty at the end of the second period, a costly five-minute charging major, as the period came to a close with the Red Hawks up by one goal.
With the score 1-0, in favor of the Red Hawks, both teams began the third period by exchanging two-minute minor penalties. As both teams continued to play an even battled game, defenseman Garry Blight shot the puck and scored the Red Hawks’ second goal as it it bounced over Marist’s goalie. Almost a minute after Blight’s goal, Marist managed to put one behind Odgers, making it a 2-1 deficit for the Red Hawks. The rest of the third period could have been described as a real nail biter, as Marist challenged the Red Hawks’ defense and goaltending. With two minutes left in the third period, Blight received a two-minute cross checking minor and Marist managed to rack up one more penalty at the 20-minute mark, ending the game 2-1.
With a much needed win to end the regular season, the men’s ice hockey team ended the season with a 10-12-2-2 overall record (10 wins, 12 losses, two ties, and two overtime losses).
The beginning of the season seemed very optimistic for the Red Hawks, but the team seemed to hit a rough patch towards the middle. Senior captain, Chris Preziosi had a successful season. In 25 games, he racked up 20 goals and 31 assists, leading the team with 51 points.
“We started off good and then hit a little rough patch,” Preziosi said. “We lost a few guys to injuries and grades, but we’re getting better. We have playoffs coming up, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Following Preziosi’s good play on the ice, the second leader in goals and assists was senior captain, Sam Enright. Due to an early season injury, Enright was limited to only 18 games, but still managed to accumulate 19 goals and 16 assists, totaling to 35 points. Enright believes that in order to improve everyday, hard work and leadership is the two biggest factors on and off the ice.
“Everyday you have to put in the work, I hope people see that because you really have to put everything you have into it,” Enright said. “This league is very competitive; you have to be on your game all of the time. You have to go to every practice and every meeting and just try to get better. I hope that if other people see me doing the right things, they’ll be more prone to doing the same.”
Aside from the two senior captains leading the team, Odgers has been an important presence on the ice for the Red Hawks. The starting goal tender has a total of 529 saves this season and is grateful for his time playing hockey at Montclair State.
“I’ve been playing since I was 8 years old and it’s such a big part of my life,” Odgers said. “Being able to play in college has been amazing.”
Odgers has also played an accumulative 782:08 minutes during the current 2016-17 regular season.
Along with Preziosi, Enright, and Odgers, two more seniors that will be graduating in May are forwards: Sal Demarzo and Matt Cofrancesco. Demarzo was the team’s fourth leader in points with 25, as Cofrancesco was fifth on the team, with 17 overall points.
As the seniors hope to pave a path for the underclassmen, one sophomore who accomplished six goals and four assists this season is forward Michael Buckel. The 6’0” forward recognized the Red Hawks struggles, as many close games did not come out in their favor.
“If I had to change anything about the regular season, I would probably change the tight one-goal games in hopes of coming out on top instead,” Buckel said.
Overall, one specific memory that struck Preziosi and Buckel this season, was the team’s most recent win against Marist. Buckel considers it the most memorable win of the season.
“My favorite memory this season was when Garry [Blight] scored the game winning goal against Marist, and [the puck] went over the goalie’s head, and rolled over the goal line,” Preziosi said.
Through the ice, sweat, and hardships of the regular season, the men’s ice hockey team clenched a playoff spot. They will face off against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m in Floyd Hall Arena.