GENEVA, N.Y. — The rivalry between Hobart and Elmira has heated up during the past two seasons as they battled each other for the playoffs. This season seems to be shaping up in a similar fashion, so anticipation was high entering tonight’s contest at the Geneva Recreation Center.
Elmira carried play in the first period, but only managed a 2-2 tie on the scoreboard. The Statesmen rallied in the second stanza, taking advantage of a few mistakes by the Soaring Eagles, to build a 6-2 lead. Elmira came out with intensity in the third period, but Hobart held on for the 7-5 victory.
Hobart tallied a shorthanded goal at 5:17 of the second period to put Elmira back on its heels. Colby McVey blocked a dump in attempt by Elmira and raced down ice with the puck. With only one defender between him and goal, McVey let rip a strong wrist shot that sailed over Elmira goaltender Greg Fargo’s glove to give Hobart the 3-2 lead.
“He is the type of player that you love coaching, but you don’t have to coach too much,” said Hobart coach Mark Taylor. “He comes up with some key goals.”
That was it for the night for Fargo, as coach Ceglarski switched netminders inserting Raphael Cundari.
The shorty tilted the ice in Hobart’s favor and a questionable icing call mid-period seemed to seal Elmira’s fate. Directly off the ensuing faceoff, deep in Elmira’s zone, Shawn Houde one-timed in the puck from the right side to stake Hobart to a 4-2 lead at 12:15.
“You can see the momentum shift after a shorthanded goal, especially when that team needs the power play goal,” said Taylor. “The timing of that was pretty critical.”
Hobart took advantage to build a 6-2 lead by the end of the second period. Conor Bradley and Mike McCarthy each scored during a 5-minute major penalty on Soaring Eagle Dave McKenna during the waning minutes of the period.
“I think it was a game of special teams and not great goaltending on either side,” said Elmira coach Tim Ceglarski. “Five of their seven goals and three out of our five were on special teams. The shorthanded goal hurt us, and the five minute major hurt us too.”
There was no quit in Elmira, though, which came out strong in the third period. The intensity paid dividends just fifty one seconds into the period when Brandon Rose scored with a blast from the right circle through a crowd that Hobart goaltender Dimitri Papaevagelou never saw.
Rose’s goal narrowed the margin to 6-4, but a defensive mistake let Hobart re-establish its four goal lead at the 8:51 mark. Greg Gallagher forced a turnover in the Elmira slot, wove his way around one defenseman and put a backhand into the net for the goal.
Elmira kept chipping away and tallied two straight goals to narrow the margin again. Ryan Arnone tallied a power play goal at 11:54 by finishing off a nice passing play. And Derrick Ryan one timed in a goal at 17:22 to cut the Elmira deficit to 7-5.
The Soaring Eagles pulled netminder Raphael Cundari with 1:37 remaining but Hobart managed to keep the puck out of the back of the net to hold onto the victory.
Play in the first period was wide open with each team tearing up and down the ice. After the opening two minutes of non-stop action, the remainder of the period was marred by a steady stream of players being sent to the penalty box.
“Both teams came out skating hard,” said Ceglarski. “[Hobart] has a good skating team, just as good as us, and moved the puck very well.”
Elmira was the first team to benefit from penalties when they found themselves with a 5-on-3 power play lasting 1:37. The Soaring Eagles only managed to garner a single shot on net during that span, but just as the first penalty ended Dave McKenna slapped home a rebound to give Elmira a 1-0 lead.
Ryan Arnone started the play that ended in the goal by wristing the puck hard on net from the right faceoff dot. Hobart goaltender Greg Fargo made the save but kicked the rebound out the far side of the crease. McKenna was right there to swat home the easy goal at 4:01.
Hobart struck back in almost the same situation. The Statesmen enjoyed a short nineteen second 5-on-3 advantage midway through the period, and tied the game just after the first penalty ended. Edward Poirier led the Hobart break into the Elmira zone and dropped the puck off at the top of the left faceoff dot. Fellow forward Will Brame was following closely and ripped a one-timer that eluded Elmira netminder Greg Fargo to tie game 1-1 at 11:35.
The two teams continued the fast paced game as the period wound down before another flurry of goals were scored. Justin Joy, a transfer from Plattsburgh, tallied a rare even strength goal at 16:07 for Elmira when he walked across the slot and wristed the puck into the top right corner of the net.
“He has been a great addition to our team,” said Ceglarski. “He has come in with a great work ethic and attitude, and has been a pleasure to have in the locker room. He has taken on a leadership role on the ice and in the locker room since the first day that he has been here.”
But the Soaring Eagles lead was short lived when Colby McVey wound a wrist shot from the middle slot through a crowd of bodies and past Fargo at 18:41 to tie the game 2-2.