BUFFALO, N.Y. — Don’t delay. And definitely don’t delay in a hockey game.
Three delay of game penalties against Buffalo State, two of which resulted in similar goals, were the difference as Manhattanville defeated the Bengals, 4-2, in the first round of the SUNYAC Challenge in Buffalo. Those two goals helped A.J. Mikkelson score a natural hat trick.
Interestingly, the first Mikkelson goal was assisted by Mike Ruberto. The second one was assisted by Jason Murfitt. The third goal was assisted by both those players.
“I never heard of either of those penalties,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said. However, he didn’t lay blame on just those calls for the loss.
“I think we played a little casual. We played like a young team tonight,” he said. “We were a step, a stick length away from a lot of pucks.”
Five of the six goals were scored on the power play, and the longest it took someone to convert the extra man advantage was 28 seconds. The quickest was five seconds which was Mikkelson’s third goal on the second delay of game penalty.
Buffalo State actually got on the scoreboard first, 15 seconds into their second power play. Tyler Soehner scooped a shot from the left point through a crowd just inside the opposite post, past Paul Reimer.
A minute and a half later, Manhattanville took 26 seconds to convert their second power play. The initial shot by Ruberto went wide to the goalie’s left. The rebound came out the other side, and no one saw it.
No one except Arlen Marshall who was left uncovered at the backdoor. He easily banged home the loose puck behind a hapless Kyle Gunn-Taylor.
The game remained tied till midway through the game when Mikkelson scored his first goal, the only even strength tally of the contest. It was a bad angle shot from the right boards that Gunn-Taylor misplayed as it bounced its way in.
A minute later, Buffalo State was called for their first delay of game penalty. Seventeen seconds after that, Mikkelson had his second goal.
The faceoff deep in the Bengals’ zone was won by Manhattanville back to
the blueline. Mikkelson’s slapshot went right through the crowd into the net.
Late in the second period, a Manhattanville goal was called back because the referee blew the whistle thinking Gunn-Taylor had the puck covered up.
Five minutes into the third period came the second delay of game penalty. Five seconds later, Mikkelson completed his hat trick. Once again, the faceoff was won directly back to the point, and once again Mikkelson’s shot found it’s way through the crowd and into the net.
Buffalo State was able to make a game of it when Jason Hill followed his initial shot by jamming in the rebound from close range. The play was set up when Hill raced down the right side and received a perfect pass from Nick Petriello. This came shortly after Petriello was called for the team’s third delay of game penalty, but with no sour result this time.
A late penalty by Buffalo State didn’t stop Carriere from pulling his goalie with 48 seconds left in the game. However, despite some close opportunities, it did not pay off.
Buffalo State committed 11 penalties. Manhattanville outshot the Bengals, 33-23, as Reimer made 21 saves. Gunn-Taylor got 29 saves in the loss.
“Obviously, the penalties weren’t a good situation for us,” Carriere said. “We didn’t compete where we needed to tonight.”
Manhattanville played an excellent all round game as is to be expected by the number four team in the nation. Though Buffalo State played a strong game at times, it would have had to be a perfect game for a real chance against the Valiants.
Fredonia gets that chance to try against Manhattanville on the final day of the SUNYAC Challenge at 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Buffalo State plays the nightcap at 7:00 against Cortland who also lost on the first day.