We had a great Fortress Invitational this past weekend in Las Vegas. The competition was great with the highest rankings of the eight tournaments played during the holiday break. Our young team experienced competition at a level much like post-season play. It was just a huge experience for our hockey team and program. We will continue to improve from the talented opponents we faced this past weekend.
After a quality 5-2 win over Ohio State on Friday night, we faced Providence College, a team that ended our season last year at the NCAA East Regional. It was a long night because of the amount of quality hockey that was played. After the first 60 minutes ended deadlocked, we played a scoreless 5-minute overtime of 5-on-5 followed by five more 3-on-3 with still no score. Next up was a shootout to decide the tournament champion. After two scoreless rounds, Providence got a goal in the third round to claim the title, but our record will show a tie.
Providence took an early 1-0 lead at 6:35 of the first period even though they had just three shots on goal to our eight. Junior forward Morgan Barron put us on the board at 15:42 with his team-leading eighth goal of the season with an assist from freshman forward Jack Malone. The Friars scored again at 14:02 of the second period on a power play; the penalty from a huge hit by one of our defensemen. There was no penalty called on the ice but after a 10-15 minute review, a 5-minute major penalty was assessed. We killed off 4 minutes of the man-down but they finally scored, 2-1. I thought it was a good hit but in today’s game you have to be careful. Providence has a good power-play unit and unfortunately this play was very important in the final result.
We entered the third period down for only the second time this season. The score remained 2-1 and we pulled the goaltender for an extra skater at the end of the period. It paid off for the first time since 2016 (114 games). Senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis set up Morgan Barron for a one-timer from the top of the right circle. It was a great shot by Morgan that flew over the goaltender’s glove.
Junior goaltender Matthew Galajda made 24 saves, including three in overtime; the Providence goalie stopped 27 shots. We were 0-for-2 on the power play and the Friars were 1-for-5.
Friday night was Freshman Night, as frosh scored three of our five goals against a very good Ohio State team. At 7:20 of the first period, freshman forward Ben Berard ripped a shot over the goalie’s glove for our first of two power-play goals on the evening. Assists went to junior forward Cam Donaldson and senior Yanni Kaldis. Ben is a great player with a great stick and a hockey mind. This was the beginning of a four-goal streak and we went into the first intermission 1-0.
Just 3 minutes into the second period, freshman forward Matt Stienburg registered his first collegiate goal with a tip-in of freshman defenseman Travis Mitchell’s shot from the left point. With 1:53 remaining in the middle stanza, Berard recorded his third goal of the season with assists to junior forwards Brenden Locke and Cam Donaldson. Our fourth tally came at 7:22 of the third period on the power play. Sophomore forward Michael Regush fired a shot from an angle deep in the left circle, the goalie made the initial save, but junior forward Tristan Mullin swept the rebound into the wide side of the net.
A mini-breakaway halted our shutout and Ohio State scored at 7:46 of the third period. Our fifth goal was an empty-netter with 2:59 remaining. Senior forward Noah Bauld collected the puck in the neutral zone and fired into the empty net. The Buckeyes made the score 5-2 on a power play, skating 6-on-4. A loose puck popped into the air and was batted in for the final goal of the game.
Galajda was strong in the net with 30 saves, including 15 in the opening period. Matty was really strong, controlling the rebounds and playing up to the challenge. The Ohio State net-minder made 23 stops. We were 2-for-2 on the power play and they were 1-for-2 on a 6 on 4 at the end of the game.
We are at RPI on Friday night followed by the short drive to Union College on Saturday evening. When we’re finished after this weekend, we’ll have played 12 of our first 16 games on the road! The ability to get the job done on the road is big. Obviously, we need to play strong this weekend. Then we can look forward to returning for some Home Cooking before the Lynah Faithful. Hope to see you in the Capital District this weekend.