Newark, Del. — Despite their best efforts to protect a 1-0 lead, the University of Delaware Division 1 men’s hockey team (1-2-0) gave up two rapid-fire goals in the third period in defeat to Liberty (4-0-0), 2-1, on Friday night (Oct. 5) at Fred Rust Arena.
Following a scoreless first period that saw the Blue Hens kill off a Pierce Lamberton cross-checking major, Chris Mazzella finished a fast-developing odd-man rush with assists from Brian Ostrander and Greg Jandoli 2:58 into the second period to put the Hens up, 1-0. Solid backchecking and defensive net-front presence from both teams kept the remainder of the second period scoreless, including through four Delaware power plays.
In the fourth minute of the third period, Jake DeFares broke up a potential Liberty two-on-one scoring chance, but the Flames took advantage of a mid-period power play to tie the score. With Ben Bergman out for cross-checking, Jordan Bochinski beat Delaware goalie Stephen East with a net-front redirect at 11:00. Twenty-eight seconds later, Zechariah Roberts scored the game-winning goal for the Flames, posting up in front of East and batting a belt-high puck from Ryan Cox into the Delaware goal.
A last-ditch effort from the Blue Hens — prolonging a man-up situation from a Cole Gammer interference minor with 2:58 to go by pulling East in the final minute — came up short, as the Liberty defence thwarted any opportunities for the Hens to generate quality shot chances and forced the puck out of their zone multiple times during their last penalty kill.
Cole Burack proved strong in net for Liberty, stopping 26 of 27 shots faced, while East turned aside 27 of 29 total shots.
The two teams meet again at Fred Rust Arena on Saturday (Oct. 6); game time is 3:45 p.m.