RYE, N.Y. — When Hobart defeated Manhattanville Saturday night, their second meeting at Rye’s Playland Ice Casino meant nothing in the standings, though it could have ramifications for the Pool B or Pool C bids.
Manhattanville broke a 1-1 first period tie with four unanswered goals in the second period, including two within 55 seconds and three within two minutes, and then fought off a ferocious Hobart comeback to win, 5-4, splitting the weekend series.
These two teams already knew going into the final regular season contest they would play each other in the ECAC West play-in game on Wednesday. Their third consecutive meeting will take place in Hobart.
“I was really pleased with our guys,” Manhattanville coach Keith Levinthal said. “It was not an easy game to play after last night. I thought it became a pretty feisty game. In its own way, both teams left tonight with a little bitter taste in their mouths.”
“They certainly caught fire at an opportune time in the second period,” Hobart coach Mark Taylor said. “I don’t think we responded that time. That got them ahead of the race. We didn’t take advantage of some of the opportunities we had that they gave to us later on in the game to play catch up.”
The first period saw the teams trade goals within a span of 1:22, starting at the 15:28 mark. Manhattanville got on the board first when Brendan Turner from the left corner fed Scott Hudson at the left circle. Hudson placed a wrist shot into the far side.
Frank Salituro tied it up while skating four aside, taking advantage of a loose rebound which Sergiy Sorokolat had trouble finding amidst his feet. Solituro did find it, and jammed it in.
Then, Manhattanville ripped off the four straight goals in the second period. Luc Van Natter started it when he was left alone on the right side of the net. He was allowed to do what he wanted and finally jammed home a loose puck at 5:57.
The Valiants made the score 3-1 1:05 later. Victor Nordenson made two backhanded attempts, finally putting the second try in. At this point, Hobart called time out. It didn’t help.
Just 55 seconds later, the score was 4-1. Mickey Lang fired one in from top of the left faceoff circle. At this point, Hobart switched goaltenders, putting Martin Ausserhofer in for Nick Broadwater. It didn’t work either.
“A change of momentum,” Taylor said he was hoping for. “It wasn’t so much my goaltender. As far as I thought, they had strong momentum right there. Just to shake their cage a little bit.”
Just over two minutes later, Manhattanville scored a short-handed goal to make it 5-1. Brett Skalski won a faceoff deep in Hobart’s zone back to Artem Gumenyuk at the left point. Gumenyuk blasted a shot that beat the newly installed goaltender.
A short-handed goal to end a four-goal barrage should have been enough to put the game away. However, the Statesmen had other ideas.
Patrick Moriarty got one back 1:35 later. Taking a pass on the run down the right side, he put a wrist shot into the far side.
The third period started with Broadwater back in net and Hobart on a mission. Salituro got his second of the night on a power play at 4:19. Steve Parry left a rebound out front while he lost his balance. Solituro banged it home.
“We got away from what we were doing,” Levinthal said. “I thought we were doing a good job playing pretty good defensive hockey. Then, we started getting too many people in the rush, circling, not hitting, not committing to defense, being on the wrong side of the puck, and we let them back in the game.”
Manhattanville really let them back in the game when Lang got called for a hitting from behind major and game misconduct at 13:43.
Hobart controlled almost the entire five minutes in Manhattanville’s end, pulling their goalie for the final 70 seconds of the power play. It finally paid off when David Stevens poked home a loose puck in front. However, there was only eight seconds left on the major penalty.
“I thought we were forcing it,” Taylor explained the last power play. “It looked good, but we were trying to jam it through and hope it through versus out to the point and keep moving it around and open it up. You get yourself behind; you start rushing the clock a little bit. We should have played with more poise and focus.”
“I don’t know we did a good job at it, actually,” Levinthal said about killing the major penalty. “To the credit of the guys, we battled at the end. We did a pretty good job of keeping it to the outside and protecting our net.”
Despite leaving the net empty the rest of the way, Hobart could not tie it up.
Hobart (14-9-2, 4-7-1) and Manhattanville (15-9-1, 3-9-0) finished their regular seasons fourth and fifth, respectively, in the ECAC West. Thus, they get to do it all over again on Wednesday in Hobart. This time, there are no more chances for either team.