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First Round of Playoffs Sweep

by Meghan Lipscomb

With their win on senior night, the Montclair State University Men’s Club Ice Hockey team was locked in for the first round of the Super East Collegiate Hockey League (SECHL) playoffs. A lot was on the line with this first round, being that Montclair State was going in as the underdog of the SECHL.

Secondly, this was the first time in a while that the Montclair State Ice Arena was the host of the SECHL playoffs. And if the Red Hawks were to win in the first round, it would be their first time since 2015. This first round game for Montclair State was against Clarkson University.

Going into the first period of the game, Clarkson had the clear advantage. Clarkson was ranked third at the end of their regular season, while Montclair State was ranked sixth.

At the beginning of the first period, both offenses kept the puck moving. Both teams had four shots on goal but, nothing went past either goalie. With ten minutes left in the first period, sophomore forward Braden Ryan scored a great goal.

Just a minute after Ryan scored, senior forward David Lenart scored. Clarkson tried to keep up with the Red Hawks, but the defense and senior goalie Dan Podolyan would not let that happen. This led to the Red Hawks being up 2-0 at the end of the first period.

Montclair State celebrates celebrating a goal. Dan Dreisbach | The Montclarion

Montclair State celebrating a goal. Dan Dreisbach | The Montclarion

As the beginning of the second period went on, both teams continued their offensive output and each put up four shots.

The Red Hawks remained aggressive. Graduate student forward Anthony Oliveri found another goal. After Oliveri scored, he did it again a minute later.

During the last few seconds of the period, Clarkson turned the momentum around and scored their first of the game making it 4-1.

The last period began with Clarkson searching for revenge and they got it five minutes in. The first ten minutes of the period for Clarkson was filled with many opportunities, but physical play from Montclair State made it difficult.

The game was tied but the Red Hawks continued to pursue a win. Senior forward Will Neal scored on an empty net with one minute left in the period. The Red Hawks kept the puck far away from Clarkson at the final seconds of the game and went on to win in the first round of the playoffs with a 5-4 victory over Clarkson.

With the win, Montclair State advanced to the next round of the playoffs. However, their season would end after a devastating defeat to Army.

Even though Montclair State did not advance deeper into the tournament, the players walked off the ice with their heads held high. The win in the first round was their first playoff win since 2015 and it truly was a remarkable season.

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