The Montclair State University men’s ice hockey team battled Roger Williams University at Floyd Hall Arena on Saturday night. Men’s ice hockey was coming off a victory on Friday night against Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Conference (ACHA) rivals Rowan University 6-5. The Red Hawks were looking to add their third win in their last four games against the visitors from Rhode Island in front of their home crowd.
Prior to this season, the Red Hawks’ roster added some depth and specifically size on defense and up front. The team welcomed freshmen defensemen Marc Iandiorio, Steven Ramos and Mike Nodarse to their veteran defensive corps. While Iandiorio leads the team in points through six games this season, Ramos and Nodarse have filled the roles of stay-at-home defensemen.
Head coach Robert Martinez added his thoughts on what the team’s new defensemen can add to the veteran defense.
“We have seven defensemen on the roster and they all bring something different to the table,” Martinez said. “Iandiorio is most recognizable for his offensive skill. He’s always involved in offensive rushes, and he’s a threat on the power-play, and we have Ramos and Nodarse who are defensively responsible and move the puck fairly well.”
Martinez continued to talk about his defense team becoming stronger.
“We think that coupled with [Daniel] Diner and the Vander Vliet brothers [Brendan and Thomas], we will be a lot more solid on defense than we have been the past couple years,” Martinez said.
The Red Hawks also added freshman Ryan Martinez, one of the tallest Red Hawk forwards at 6-foot 3-inches, who can use his size to drive to the net and create problems for opposing goaltenders.
Freshman goaltender Danny Porth started his third game of the season Saturday and would be tested early and often by the Rogers Williams’ organized offense.
Despite seeing plenty of shots on his net in the first period, Porth kept Roger Williams off the scoreboard during the first period.
Just five minutes into the second period, Roger Williams’ Nicholas Hart skated past the Red Hawks’ defense and slid a wraparound attempt in between Porth’s legs and the Red Hawks found themselves down 1-0.
Five minutes later, Red Hawks’ defenseman Iandiorio took a cross-checking penalty, which would prove costly because the Red Hawks’ Cole Foster converting a goal out of that power play and took a 2-0 lead.
The Red Hawks were not shy of physical contact and used their aggression to slow down Roger Williams’ transition in front of their home crowd. Coach Martinez described what the team was looking to do by adding some bigger players to the team this year.
“We’ve added a substantial amount of size compared to years past, so we’re looking to play a more physical up-tempo game than we have,” Martinez said.
Halfway through the second period, Montclair State’s Mike Nordstrom was checked from behind into the boards, but the referee tamely called Roger Williams for a two-minute elbowing penalty. On the ensuing powerplay for the Red Hawks, the home team generated several rebound opportunities by taking shots from the defensive points while forwards went to the net and screened the Red Hawks’ goaltender. The Red Hawks hit the post once and generated numerous scoring chances but could not score on their second powerplay of the game.
Once the penalty ended, Roger Williams’ forwards went back to work. Roger Williams’ forward Griffin Gagne snuck behind a Red Hawks defender and scored on the breakaway attempt.
In the third period, the Red Hawks pressed hard to try and chip away at their four-goal deficit. Right winger Evan Calendrillo hit an opponent from behind in his defensive zone, resulting in a minor penalty and put Roger Williams on the powerplay for the third time. Roger Williams’ Dana Nichols would score the final goal of the game halfway through the third to win 5-0 over the Red Hawks.
Porth made save after save and even saved the puck off the goal line on a second chance opportunity. He was named first star after the game for making 54 saves on 59 shots.
“Porth has been outstanding in all of his appearances so far,” Martinez said. “He started versus Marist, [a game where] we lost in overtime, but we wouldn’t have been in overtime if it weren’t for him. He stopped 36 shots against Ramapo for a win, and he earned our win against Rowan the other day, so he’s been playing really well.”
Men’s ice hockey will play their next game on home ice against the University of New Hampshire at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20.