Newark, Del. — The University of Delaware Division 2 men’s hockey team unleashed a constant onslaught on the Millersville defence in their Saturday (Sept. 7) tilt at Fred Rust Arena, posting a facile 7-1 victory to open their 2019-20 season.
Picking up where they left off in February, the Blue Hens employed a strong breakout to establish strong attacking zone presence for the majority of the game, peppering Millersville goalie Garret Baldacci with 53 shots. And while the top line of Ryan Johnson, Devin LeBlanc and Shane Moran led the charge with three goals, it was a pair of bottom-six forwards who combined to draw first blood.
Junior centre Kyle Sapia established net-front presence and redirected a Bobby LaBrosse shot into the Millersville net at 3:18, and Moran used similar tactics to double the Hens’ lead at 4:43. In the final minute of the first period, a LeBlanc shot from mid-slot drew Baldacci out of position, enabling Johnson to pounce on the rebound and pot his first of two goals.
Up 3-0 through the first period, the Blue Hens maintained their intensity through a 20-shot second frame, but were silenced by Baldacci — who did well to minimise rebound opportunities — until the final three minutes of the period. After Trey Bruggeman tapped in the rebound of a Michael Carelli shot to score Millersville’s lone goal at 15:59, the Hens’ second line countered with the first of two rapid-fire tallies to widen their lead.
The Hens narrowly escaped an icing with 2-1/2 minutes left in the second period when Ryan Lowe hustled into the Millersville zone to beat a pair of Marauders defenders to the puck and subsequently set up Ben Bergman with a net-front goal. Johnson extended Delaware’s lead to 5-1 in the closing seconds of the period, finishing a tic-tac-toe from Moran and LeBlanc for the first of three consecutive power-play goals.
With just over seven minutes remaining in the game and the Marauders’ Sean Wolk and Bruggeman both serving penalties, Cal Raymore fired a wrist shot from 20 feet off a Lowe feed for Delaware’s sixth goal, followed only 15 seconds later by freshman Will Jowett’s first tally as a Blue Hen.
LeBlanc, who was third among Blue Hens with 41 points last season, recorded three assists.
Stephen Odgers recorded 15 saves on 16 shots in victory for Delaware, while Baldacci saved 46 of the 53 shots faced in defeat.
The Blue Hens travel to face Army next Saturday (Sept. 14) and The College of New Jersey on Sunday (Sept. 15).