Crack the Goose Egg
Lebanon Valley finally ended its 28-game winless streak last Friday when it beat Becker 6-1. Prior to Friday, the Flying Dutchmen hadn’t won a game since Dec. 10, 2005, going winless throughout all of 2006.
“Friday was our first sixty minute game of the year,” said Lebanon Valley coach Howard Hutton. “We kept the shots down, didn’t take too many penalties, and played disciplined. It was the first time all season that we actually all decided to play sixty minutes.”
The Flying Dutchmen beat up Becker again on Saturday night 7-5, but it was special teams that saved the victory despite some bad habits by the players creeping back on to the ice. Lebanon Valley tallied five power play goals on fourteen power plays.
“Saturday, we went backwards,” said Hutton. “Old habits die hard here. We had a parade to the penalty box. We got lucky with the five power play goals and were able to do just enough to win. We are still a work in progress trying take care of those little things that pop up during a game. We were able to do that on Friday, but kind of took a step back on Saturday.”
The effects from two additions to the Lebanon Valley team since the holidays are already being felt. Hutton has recruited a pair of former NHL players as assistant coaches and consultants, helping his young players to step up their game.
Mitch Lamoureux, who played 73 games in the NHL back in the mid-80s, lives in Hershey, Pa. near Lebanon Valley and has a son playing on the LVC baseball team.
“Mitch comes in twice per week and helps to teach with power play, penalty killing, and tactics,” said Hutton. “He is bringing a lot of little things from so many years in the pros. It means so much to me as a young coach and means a lot to the guys.”
Also helping out is Tom Draper who was a two time ECAC All-Star at Vermont and then went on to play goalie for the Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders in the early 1990′s.
While Draper currently lives in Binghamton, N.Y., he is driving down to Lebanon Valley once per week to work with the team, and is consulting with the goaltenders regularly by phone and email after watching game tapes.
“The experience that [Tom] brings is going to help the program out, obviously goaltending being the most important position,” said Hutton. “Aaron Miller, our starter, who is a freshman, Tom should really help him out.”
Lebanon Valley will need the help of both Lamoureux and Draper, along with some confidence from last weekends victories, as it re-enters league play this weekend against Neumann.
“We talk about keeping it all positive right now,” said Hutton. “We know the big boys are coming in and that little things will mean a lot. When we make a mistake, it is in the back of the net. We pay for our mistakes dearly. We can’t continue to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Around the League
Hobart’s 7-2 win over Brockport last Saturday extended its current undefeated streak to a school record twelve games. You have to look all the way back to November 4th to find the last Statesmen loss.
Hobart dropped its first two league games of the year that weekend in November, to Utica in overtime and then to Manhattanville, but hasn’t looked back since.
Scattered in the twelve game undefeated span are three hard fought ties against nationally-ranked Oswego, Neumann, and Middlebury.
Hobart’s previous longest undefeated streak was a pair of eight game spans. One of those was eight straight wins over the same months last season, and the other was also eight games two years ago at the same time. I guess coach Taylor and the team have learned to like the games from the middle of November through January.
In Manhattanville, the news isn’t quite so good. While the Valiants continue to take care of business on the ice, racking up wins and holding on to the No. 1 position in the USCHO Poll, off ice problems resurfaced again last weekend.
Prior to Saturday’s game against Potsdam (which Manhattanville won 4-2), five players were suspended from the team for an indefinite period of time. The reason provided in the Valiants press release said the players were suspended “for failure to live up to the expectations of the program,” which could mean just about anything.
Suspended were seniors Scott Goheen and Troy Maleyko, junior Brendan McIntyre, and freshmen Phil Hotarek and Matt Peigza.
Piegza was lauded earlier in the season as being one of the freshman that brought speed to the Valiants, and is currently fourth on the team in points after getting out to a quick start to the season.
McIntyre was involved in a three-game suspension in late November for an unspecified violation of team rules, which also resulted in rolling period-long suspensions for several other players.
Since the incident, Scott Goheen has been released from the Manhattanville team.
“I have a very young group and I won’t tolerate anything less than being an excellent student, contributing member of our local communinty, and an excellent citizen on our campus,” said Manhattanville coach Keith Levinthal.
While we don’t know if this latest incident is a continuation of the earlier one, it doesn’t sound like the players are going to earn their way back in to the good graces of coach Levinthal any time soon.
Game of the Week
Hobart and Manhattanville meet up this weekend for a pair of league games that could be pivotal for both teams.
The Statesmen are looking to continue their hot hand and stay undefeated as they try to climb out of their current fifth place standing. While Hobart has racked up an impressive 8-0-1 record outside the league, its 2-2-1 league record is mediocre at best. And mediocre won’t get the job done in the ECAC West.
Manhattanville, on the other hand, needs to get it’s off-ice house in order and try to keep the on-ice success rolling to maintain the No. 1 national ranking. The Valiants saw Neumann jump over them in to first place in the league last weekend.
Manhattanville has two games in hand over the Knights, and Saturday’s game against Hobart is one of those. A Valiants weekend sweep would put them back on top in the league.