Newark, Del. — A tough Stockton defence kept the University of Delaware Division 3 men’s hockey team to just 24 shots on goal and minimal quality chances, but the Blue Hens (8-8-3) ground their way to a hard-earned 2-1 score over the Ospreys (11-7-0) on Friday evening (Jan. 25) at Fred Rust Arena.
Brandon Biegan and Zachery Harmel were the cornerstones of the Ospreys’ defence, closing down shot lanes and maintaining a constant presence in front of their own net to aid goalie Michael Corella, who stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced. As such, both Delaware goals came from close range and were the product of net-front grit rather than sheer sniping ability.
With just over seven minutes to go in the opening period, fourth-line winger Ryan D’Emilia punched a loose puck off Corella’s pads into the left corner of the Stockton goal, earning his second seasonal tally and putting the Hens on the board. Despite three power plays through the second period, the Hens were kept to just six shots in the middle frame and failed to extend their lead — but the Ospreys were kept scoreless on 13 shots by Gabe Nadell, who minimised second-chance opportunities for Stockton by freezing the puck frequently amid net-front commotion.
The Hens did not build on their tenuous 1-0 lead until an Evan Hall tripping minor led to their fourth power play of the game with 5:35 left in regulation. Matt Vermont headed a three-on-two attack into the Ospreys’ zone, and captain Shane Saladis finished a tic-tac-toe progression from the left edge of the Stockton crease to double Delaware’s lead. Not 2-1/2 minutes later, a cross-checking penalty assessed to Ben Kahan gave the Ospreys a chance to rally back in the final 2:43, and they got one back with a second extra attacker on in place of Corella during the power play. Travis Tuthill, Stockton’s second leading scorer, potted his ninth goal of the season amid a net-front scrum with 1:09 remaining, but the Delaware defence held steadfast to protect their lead once back to full strength.
Nadell saved 31 of 32 shots faced to improve to 6-6-0 on the season.
The Hens ride a three-game winning streak into Saturday (Jan. 26), when they host Stony Brook. Game time at Gold Arena is 5:15 p.m.