UTICA, N.Y. — After an extended delay late in the second period due to a broken pane of glass, Manhattanville scored the game winning goal just over a minute after the game restarted and then hung on to the 4-3 lead during the entire third period to defeat Utica.
“It was a great win for us,” said Manhattanville coach Keith Levinthal. “We were shorthanded tonight, and this was a gutsy win for us. [Chris] Seifert and [Jay] Chrapala are both legitimate all-league players, and anytime you can win when you are shorthanded is great.”
Seifert and Chrapala both were out of the Valiant lineup for Friday’s game.
The second period was less physical than the first, as neither team could maintain the brutal pace from the first period. The opening half of the period was mostly controlled by Manhattanville, which took advantage to build a 2-1 lead.
Manhattanville’s first goal, 4:08 into the period, elicited some controversy. Off a scramble in front of the Pioneer net, John Auxier got his stick on the puck and just barely tucked it into the top left corner of the net.
The puck went in and out of the net quickly, and couldn’t have been more than two inches inside the bright red pipes. After a long consultation among the referees and a quick chat with the goal judge, the referee signaled a goal and the game was tied 1-1.
“We gave Manhattanville gift goals tonight,” said Utica coach Gary Heenan. “Our slot hasn’t been that open all year. Mentally, we’re just not tough enough yet. We don’t have the big-league players yet. We’re learning that we don’t have the depth right now.”
Just over four minutes later, Manhattanville took its first lead of the night. Off of the right side of the Pioneer crease, Bill Cummings was tied up by a Utica defender. But Cummings got his stick down on the ice and one-timed a pass from behind the net by Jason Kenyon for the Valiants’ second goal.
Utica kept playing its game as the second period continued, and re-tied the game at 12:45. Joe Pupillo sent a big blast from the left point towards the Valiant net, and Jimmy Sokol deflected it past Hill for the goal.
“Utica played hard and needed to win,” said Levinthal. “They are playing desperate right now, and that makes them dangerous.”
Just 25 seconds later, Manhattanville retook the lead. This time it was Kenyon with the goal at the 13:10 mark.
The relentless scoring pace continued in the waning minutes of the second period. Valiant Myles Fee struggled to gain control of the puck as it wallowed between his skates at his own blue line. Pioneer Brian Bansner poked the puck free and skated in alone towards the Valiant net. Bansner wristed the puck past Hill to tie the game 3-3 at the 15:34 mark of the second period.
Even though the physical play wasn’t as prolific in the second period as it was in the first, there was still a lot of hitting going on. With 2:45 remaining in the period, a hard check into the boards shattered one of the panes of glass, causing a delay of 25 minutes.
That sent both teams to the locker rooms early for the second intermission as repairs were made and the remaining time was tacked on to the beginning of the third period.
After the teams returned from the break, Manhattanville retook the lead for the final time. Wade Richardson found Billy Foulds out in front of the Pioneer net, and Foulds swatted home the puck to give the Valiants their third one-goal lead of the second period.
Opening up the third period, Utica put a ton of pressure on the Manhattanville net. The Valiants were forced to ice the puck repeatedly to avoid getting into trouble. The interminable icings continued for both teams through the middle of the period.
The defenses ruled during the opening minutes of the game. Any rushes up ice by either team were squashed as they reached the top of the faceoff circles.
Utica was the only team to penetrate the stifling defense during the first period. Travis Doan was forechecking behind the Manhattanville net when he dug the puck free. He found leading Pioneer scorer Jimmy Sokol alone in front of the Valiant net, and Sokol one-timed the puck past Hill for the goal at the 7:05 mark.