Newark, Del. — Fresh off a 5-3 win over Maryland just six days ago, the University of Delaware Division 2 men’s hockey team (24-9-0) kicked off their postseason run in dominant fashion, posting a 7-1 rout over the Terrapins (8-14-1) in Friday’s (Feb. 15) Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Conference South Division semifinal matchup at Fred Rust Arena.
Second-line right winger Shane Moran, after scoring two of the Blue Hens’ goals in a 6-0 route of the Terps in October, led the Delaware charge with a hat trick while Ryan Johnson added a pair of goals from the third line. Chris Demas backstopped Delaware to his eighth win of the season by way of a 20-save effort.
After struggling to establish net-front presence in last Saturday’s game, the Blue Hens improved markedly in that regard, owning the slot through the first two periods and accounting for five of their seven goals from within 15 feet of the Maryland net. Delaware opened the scoring 5:42 into the first period, with Jeremy DeWit firing a rebound past Maryland goalie Matt Derry only 31 seconds after successfully killing off a Mike Nauman tripping minor, the only penalty of the first two periods. Moran followed with his first goal of the day at the 10:07 mark, splitting defenders just inside the Maryland blue line before potting the rebound of his initial shot from close range.
After Maryland’s Patrick Havey tipped a Liam Eden shot in at 12:52 to cut the Hens’ advantage to 2-1, Johnson connected for his two goals to close the opening frame. At 16:39, Johnson fielded a cross-ice pass from Kyle Sapia to finish a two-on-one breakout with a snipe from just above the right dot, only to follow it up at 19:39 with a rifle from the left point that bounced into the goal off Derry’s stick.
Despite being outshot 14-8 in the first period, the Hens dominated on the chances they generated and picked up the pace further in a second period in which they controlled territory on an almost continuous basis.
Moran teamed up with linemates Devin LeBlanc and Alec Rankin to finish a net-front tic-tac-toe 1:13 into the second before muscling through net-front traffic at 13:55 to complete his hat trick. Leading scorer Ryan Morse gave the first line their second goal of the game with 2:01 left in the period, firing a wrist shot past Derry from 12 feet out by way of a Steve Bryson centring pass.
With Maryland down 7-1 through two periods, Adam Childs took over the third-period goaltending duties and saved all nine Delaware shots he faced after Derry allowed seven goals on 18 shots. Despite a back-and-forth pace continuing through the final frame, neither team could convert. A late altercation in front of the Delaware net between Delaware’s Dan Demas and Maryland’s Nate Hefner saw both men issued ten-minute misconducts, but ultimately had no bearing on the outcome.
Delaware will face off against Liberty on Saturday (Feb. 16) in the MACH South Division final. Game time from Fred Rust Arena is 5:15 p.m.; both the Rowan Television Network and Delaware Hockey Night Radio will provide live coverage.
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