BROCKPORT, N.Y. — The Manhattanville Valiants opened their 2005-6 campaign on the road, defeating Brockport State, 7-2. Manhattanville turned a relatively close game through the first two periods into a blowout thanks to a four-goal third period, including two in the first two minutes. They outshot the Golden Eagles that final period, 20-9.
“I thought we played a lot more like a veteran team in the third period,” said Manhattanville coach Keith Levinthal. “I thought the second period you’d never know we had so many seniors and juniors on our roster. I thought the third period we settled down, moved the puck, and did what we needed to do.”
It didn’t take long for Manhattanville to do what they needed to do. Just 55 seconds when Chad Van Diemen scored a “lazy” goal against Matt Mateja. His soft shot was sort of saved by Mateja, but the puck went up in the air, rolled over his shoulder, down his back, and barely trickled in before he could react. That made the score 4-1, and the Valiants never looked back.
Less than a minute later they scored again when Jason Murfitt notched his second on the night. He received a pass right in the slot area, and wristed a hard shot that easily beat Mateja.
“The third period my boys came out dead,” Brockport coach James Eccles admitted. “They were all ready to go in the locker room, but they did come out flatfooted. We played 40 out of 60 minutes of hockey.”
After Manhattanville took the 5-1 lead, the rest of the game saw a steady stream of penalties. Eleven penalties were called between the two teams in that final period. The scoring resumed midway through the third when Manhattanville once again scored two quick ones in just over a two minute span.
Paul Prefontaine fired a hard slap shot from the middle of the blue line for a power play goal. Chris Mills followed that goal when the teams were skating four-a-side by deflecting the puck in while standing right in front of the net, making it 7-1. It could have been argued Mills was in the goal crease.
At that point, Brockport changed goalies and put in their other freshman, Devin Ramasawmy. Though he did not let up a goal, he too was replaced with three minutes left by Derek Spence. This time it was because of an injury as Eccles now goes from having to decide which freshman goalie of the future to choose to figuring out if he has a goaltender.
“We need a fix between the pipes,” Eccles said. “I got a freshman goalie, Matty Mateja, who didn’t finish up strong. I pulled him. Put in our other freshman, Devin Ramasawmy, who played with a groin injury. He was ready to go and then he wasn’t ready to go, and I had to put in my third goalie. We’re at a standpoint right now between an injury and a bad game for a starting goalie.”
Fifty-five seconds was also a magical time at the start of the game for Manhattanville. That was how long it took them to score the first goal of the contest. With some quick passes down low, Murfitt finished the play with a backhander.
Late in the game, Manhattanville did something you don’t ordinarily see this early in a hockey game — they called a timeout.
“We had a five on three and we were up by one goal at the time, and we felt like we could make it three zip and really put them in a difficult spot,” Levinthal explained. “Our guys we wanted on the ice were a little bit tired, so we figured, why not use it then.”
It paid off for one goal with the two-man advantage. Again it was quick, crisp passing that set up the opportunity. Prefontaine from the middle of the blue line fed it to Zeke Hume down the right side who quickly made a cross-ice pass to Scott Goheen. Goheen hesitated a bit and then shot it over the goaltender to make it 2-0.
“We prepared this week that they move the puck very well,” Eccles said of Manhattanville’s passing. “They are a very dominant team with 12 seniors and seven juniors.”
Midway through the second, Brockport got on the scoreboard cutting the lead in half with a five-on-three power play goal of their own. Right off the face off, Brockport took it to the net, and Greg Schwind deflected the puck in front, flipping it over Andrew Gallant.
Manhattanville got it back before the period ended on a delayed penalty call. Derek Lyndon got open on the right face off circle, and though Mateja had an unobstructed view of the puck, Lyndon easily put it through the five-hole.
Then came the third period where the Valiants turned a 4-1 lead into a 7-1 lead. Brockport got one back just before the game ended when Gordon Pritchard skated around the goalie to put it into an open net, but he paid for it, as he was flattened when he let the shot go. The teams were each skating a man down at the time.
Besides the two goals by Murfitt as well as an assist, Prefontaine got a goal and two assists, and Menzies registered four assists. Gallant made 20 saves for the win.
These two teams do it again tomorrow for an afternoon game at 3:00 at the Tuttle North Ice Arena.
“We’re going to have to get back on the saddle tomorrow and work hard,” Levinthal said of his 1-0 team. “The great thing about Division III hockey, anybody can beat anybody these days, so you have to work hard.”
Brockport is now 0-3, and they will also have to work harder Saturday afternoon if they want to get their first win of the year.