A second-period goal by junior right wing Evan Calendrillo was not enough to top Army Friday night at Floyd Hall Arena. The Montclair State University men’s ice hockey team lost 4-1 to the Black Knights despite a good effort on their senior night and last home game of the season.
Despite suffering this tough loss that could have given the Red Hawks a playoff spot, the players kept a lighthearted attitude about what happened this game.
“We thought about the mistakes we made in our last game and put our hard hats on,” freshman goaltender Danny Porth said. “[We] grabbed our lunch pails and went to work.”
Senior left wing Michael Buckel started off the scoring chances for the Red Hawks with an early shot before senior forward Lucas Prospero took a roughing penalty.
Montclair State managed to keep Army out of the net with a strong penalty kill. An Army penalty halfway into the Prospero penalty made the game four-on-four, with Buckel as well as senior defenseman Dan Diner continuing to get shots throughout.
Montclair State had the opportunity to score with three five-on-three powerplays, in which they did not score despite offense from Buckel, freshman forward Ryan Martinez and sophomore forward Shawn Meneghin. Army took seven penalties just within this first period, one of them being a five-minute major.
Porth kept the score even with some saves before Calendrillo scored 2:10 into the second period to give the Red Hawks a one-goal lead. Army could not capitalize on an early powerplay as Montclair State continued to get scoring chances from players such as junior center Matthew Dreisbach and Buckel. They continued to win faceoffs, and Porth made consistent saves to keep Montclair State at the same level as Army.
“In order to beat a team like Army, every guy has to be working as hard as they can for the full 60 minutes,” Porth said.
The third period was when the Red Hawks had their downfall, where Army scored all four of their goals. Freshman forward Calvin Mckee scored the first goal for the Black Knights just 1:15 into the period, along with an unassisted goal from senior center Luke Schneider, 4:46 in.
The Red Hawks tried their best to stay in the game, with a hit from Calendrillo and shots from Prospero and freshman defenseman Steven Ramos. Another Army goal came 6:05 into the third, as their offense was one step ahead of the Montclair State defense as well as Porth.
The Red Hawks pulled Porth with three minutes left in the game, using the extra skater and taking a timeout to try and overcome the two-goal deficit they were in. The suspense was high as altercations between the two teams came right before an Army empty net goal, securing the win for them with 10 seconds left.
“Our team could have better utilized our physical prowess and took the hits to them,” Martinez said. “Unfortunately, we did not, which allowed them to get multiple opportunities that should have never occurred.”
Martinez then commented on something he thought his team did well during the game.
“When we were physical, however, we were able to create high quality scoring chances,” Martinez said. “But we were not able to get the puck into the net.”
The Red Hawks were able to get another chance to beat Army Sunday night up at West Point. They finished the season strong with a 2-1 win over the Black Knights, where freshman goaltender Ondrej Smalec got the win for Montclair State.
They ended the season with an 8-14 record. Although the Red Hawks will be graduating five seniors on the team as well as not being in the playoffs, the strong performance from their freshman class this season helps them look forward to a more successful one next year.