Holiday Tournament Sweep For ECAC West
It was a solid holiday season for the ECAC West as Elmira and RIT both took top honors in holiday tournaments. Hobart played a great game against Plattsburgh, but lost the contest and the follow-on game with Colby. Manhattanville stumbled after the break against Potsdam.
RIT: Five for five — that’s what RIT has done this year in tournament play. Five tournaments, five trophies to take home and put on the shelf. With the success comes the No. 1 ranking in the USCHO.com poll, along with a big target squarely on the Tigers’ backs.
The latest piece of hardware came from the Pepsi Cardinal Classic in Plattsburgh. The Tigers opened the tournament against Colby and came right out of the gates early as Jerry Galway, Sam Hill, and Jonathan Day all notched tallies by midway through the first period to give the Tigers the 3-0 lead. Colby tucked in a shorthander, but the Tigers ripped off the next four goals and were coasting with a 7-1 lead by the middle of the second period. RIT eventually won by an 8-2 score. Peter Bournazakis had two goals, while Sam Hill and Mike Tarantino contributed a goal and two assists each.
The Tigers then got the matchup against Plattsburgh in the championship game that they were looking for. Territorially, the first period was pretty even, but RIT took advantage of every opportunity presented it, especially on special teams. Derek Hahn scored shorthanded just 6:14 in to the game to get RIT rolling. Jerry Galway (power play), Mike Tarantino (4-on-4), and Sam Hill all scored in the first period to give RIT the 4-0 lead.
The Tigers were nervous about the possibility of Plattsburgh staging a big comeback — as happened last year, when the Cardinals overcame a 4-1 third period deficit to defeat RIT 5-4. But the Tigers kept the momentum rolling this time. Peter Bournazakis and Galway tallied by the 10:24 mark to build RIT’s lead to 6-0. The Cardinals finally got on the board, but Peter Bournazakis answered at 16:34 to maintain the advantage. Plattsburgh scored later in the second period, but Jonathan Day put the final nail in to the coffin just 31 seconds into the third period to give RIT the 8-2 win. Tyler Euverman earned tournament MVP honors with a 37-save performance, while Galway, Peter Bournazakis, and Tarantino were also named to the All-Tourney team.
Next up for RIT are two home games against SUNYAC opponents Cortland and Fredonia.
ELMIRA: The Soaring Eagles found a piece of coal in their stocking for Christmas this year as standout freshman defender Lawne Snyder lost his academic eligibility for the remainder of the season. Snyder had seven goals and seven assists in only 11 games, including five power-play goals, and his loss weakens an already-thin Elmira defensive corps, not good news for an Elmira team that has been up and down all season.
But even with the bad news from Santa, Elmira had a successful trip to the Codfish Bowl tournament in Boston December 29 and 30. The Soaring Eagles opened up with a score-fest against St. Anselm’s, winning 10-6. St. Anselm’s jumped on the board first with two quick shorthanded goals just 3:52 in to the game.
“St. A’s has some pretty talented forwards. They got two quick ones shorthanded on us,” said coach Glenn Thomaris. “But we came back from that and built to the win from there.”
Jay Zanleoni and Eddie Caissie notched first-period goals for Elmira to get back in the game, and Elmira then got three goals in the second period by Mike Hulbig, Jason Silverthorn, and Dean Jackson to take the lead. But St. Anselm’s wasn’t done yet as two quick goals late in the second period pulled them back within a single goal.
The puck bounced Elmira’s way early in the third period, a rarity so far this season. Ryan Baker notched a pair, Jay Sirios and Clark McPherson each chipped in one, and Elmira was back to a comfortable 9-4 lead. St. A’s made it interesting with two more goals before Bob Siewert closed the door with 4:30 remaining. Elmira won by a final score of 10-6.
Elmira met UMass-Boston in the championship game and the offensive onslaught continued as Elmira won 8-2. Mike Clarke opened the festivities just 2:13 in, and Dean Jackson chipped in two more to give Elmira a 3-0 lead. UMass-Boston made a game of it with two goals midway through the second period, but the Soaring Eagle offense more than met the challenge, rattling off five unanswered goals. Dean Jackson finished off his hat trick, combined with two assists, for a five-point night.
Steve Kaye and Jackson were named to the Codfish Bowl All-Tournament team, while Pierre Rivard earned MVP honors. Kaye also earned the Lawrence Curran Award, given to the player who best combines good sportsmanship and good play on the ice.
Elmira’s only game this past week was hosting Wentworth, coming off a huge tie at Middlebury.
“It was important for us to jump on them early,” said Thomaris, and that was exactly what Elmira did. Kenny Keil scored just 31 seconds in, and Jay Sirios added another goal at 3:01, on the way to a 6-2 victory. Once again, Dean Jackson led the way on offense with two goals and one assist.
Elmira opens this week at Geneseo, and then hosts Plattsburgh on Saturday. “We have now gone in to our SUNYAC stretch, which is always a tough stretch in our schedule,” said Thomaris.
MANHANTTANVILLE: The Valiants had their four-game winning streak snapped by Potsdam last Saturday, losing 4-2. Potsdam took a quick lead just 2:35 in to the game. Manhattanville fought back and got the equalizer at 17:18 with a goal by Damon Iannillo. Potsdam retook the lead with two straight goals in the second period. The Valiants were able to chip away at the lead late in the second period when Bill Cummings scored unassisted. But 3-2 was as close as Manhattanville could get. Potsdam scored an insurance goal with just 44 seconds remaining in the game to seal the Valiants’ fate.
Manhattanville has a busy week ahead as it tries to get back on the winning ways. The Valiants have a midweek tilt against Lebanon Valley, and then weekend games at Oswego and at Cortland.
HOBART: Hobart came oh-so-close to pulling off a huge upset in the opening round of the Pepsi Cardinal Classic against Plattsburgh. The Statesmen played extremely disciplined, both defensively and in staying out of penalty trouble, and the dividends were apparent throughout the game. Plattsburgh went up 1-0 with an early goal in the first period, but Hobart’s Matt Pane tied it up midway through the period.
The Statesmen stuck with the game plan as the game moved through the second period and in to the third still tied 1-1. Chris Doolan redirected a slapshot from the point for the go-ahead goal at 4:45 of the third period. The power-play tally put Hobart up 2-1, and all of Stafford Arena began to wonder if David really could slay Goliath. Alas, it wasn’t to be as Plattsburgh notched a goal at 12:27 to tie the game, and then swarmed the Hobart net relentlessly. The Cardinals notched two more quick goals, and added an empty-netter to send Hobart to the consolation game with a 5-2 loss.
After the tough loss to Plattsburgh, Hobart’s heart just wasn’t in the consolation game against Colby. After a quick 1-0 Hobart lead on a goal by Greg Reynholds. The White Mules picked it up from there and converted on some not-so-smart Hobart penalties, going 5-for-10 on the power play, and eventually defeated Hobart 7-2.
“I was a little worried about playing two tough games back to back right after break,” said coach Mark Taylor. “I don’t think our legs held up as well in the Colby game as I had hoped for.” Eric Christianson notched the other Hobart goal.
This week is a little easier for the Statesman. Their only game of the week is at home against a struggling Brockport team.
Game Of The Week
Elmira looks to finally be on a roll after an up-and-down first half of the season, and a six-game winning streak has the Soaring Eagles’ fans hopeful. However, the level of competition over the last couple of wins wasn’t as tough as the teams Elmira faced earlier in the season.
Has Elmira really turned the corner? Is this the beginning of a wave of wins that the Soaring Eagles can ride towards the NCAAs? This Saturday’s game against Plattsburgh may very well answer those questions. The Cardinals are reeling after a loss to RIT, and Elmira is looking to avenge a 5-2 loss earlier this season to Plattsburgh. If Elmira can beat Plattsburgh this time around, they will be able to put that corner behind them once and for all.