ECAC West Newsletter: Feb. 14, 2001

Manhattanville Downs Elmira

The Manhattanville Valiants defeated Elmira 4-2 on Friday to take over sole possession of second place in the ECAC West. Hobart dropped a contest against Potsdam, while RIT defeated Hamilton in a non-league contest.

League Games Overview

ELMIRA 2 at MANHATTANVILLE 4 (2/9): Manhattanville was looking to do something they haven’t been able to do as a young team, get game over game consistency. The Valiants played RIT tough on February 3, losing a tight 3-2 contest. Could they play well against an equally tough Elmira team?

The answer, it turned out, was yes.

“RIT gave them an awful lot of confidence,” said Elmira coach Glenn Thomaris.

The Valiants opened the scoring just 1:24 in to the contest on a goal by Aaron Gauthier. But it was Elmira that controlled most of the first period. Jay Zanleoni tied the game for Elmira at the 7:03 mark. And Steve Kaye notched a shorthanded goal 15:39 in to the first period to give Elmira the 2-1 lead.

“We got caught with our pants down a little bit,” said Thomaris. “We didn’t expect it to be as tough as it was. They were a little bit hungrier than we were.”

It was a very physical game, with 29 penalties assessed between the two teams, but Elmira went 0-for-10 on the power play, including two 5-on-3 advantages, and that was the deciding factor.

“We did a great job 5-on-5, but we did an even better job on the penalty kill,” said Manhattanville coach Keith Levinthal.

The unlikely star of the night for the Valiants emerged in the second period. Sophomore Vincent Reilly, who didn’t even dress for the first half of the season, scored at the 6:50 mark to tie the game 2-2. This was Reilly’s first goal of the season, in only his sixth game.

“He plays hard and has a lot of heart,” said Levinthal. “We had sat Reilly out early in the season to go with some of our more skilled freshman. But we found that we were lacking those hard-working, big heart players that every team needs. Reilly is one of those kids who doesn’t get on the scoreboard every night, but is great to have out there for the other things that he brings to the game.”

And Reilly wasn’t done with his heroics. He notched his second tally of the game, and the season, unassisted, at the 18:04 mark of the third period to give Manhattanville the late 3-2 lead. Dave Schmalenberg chipped in a late Valiant goal with only 24 seconds remaining to seal the 4-2 upset win.

Both goaltenders had strong nights. Jon Peczka for Manhattanville stopped 43 of 45 shots, while Rob Ligas of Elmira stopped 35 of 39 shots.

“All of the starting goaltenders around the league are just so strong this season. Ligas played great for Elmira. Peczka made some great saves for us in this game, particularly on the penalty kill,” said Levinthal.

Team-By-Team Report

RIT (ranked No. 1): The Tigers toyed with Hamilton for parts of their contest, but by early in the third period, RIT had taken control of the game on way to an 8-3 victory. Derek Hahn lit up the scoreboard with two goals and four assists for a six point night. Mike Bournazakis wasn’t far behind, chipping in two goals and three assists for a not-so-shabby five point night of his own. The Tiger power play also seemed to get back on track, somewhat, going 3-for-6 on the night. The power play unit seemed to have gotten derailed from its blistering .500 pace over the last several games. But with the game against Hamilton included, the Tiger man-advantage unit is still clicking along at an astronomical .422 pace.

RIT’s closes out its regular season schedule this week, hosting longtime rival Elmira on Saturday.

ELMIRA (ranked No. 7): The much talked about “Rematch at the Ritter” is on Elmira’s mind this week. The Soaring Eagles will be looking to avenge the OT loss that RIT handed them three weeks ago at the Thunderdomes. And Elmira will also be looking to keep its slender NCAA hopes alive when it travels to RIT for Saturday’s contest.

MANHANTTANVILLE: The Valiants hit the ‘Wow’ factor in only their second season in the ECAC West. While Manhattanville had played tough in some games, the win over Elmira has served notice that the Valiants’ players and coaches fully intend to challenge for league supremacy in the very near future.

The Valiants have added a game to their schedule this week, in order to make up for Western New England College canceling a game on them early last fall. Manhattanville will take on Neumann, their third meeting this season, on Wednesday. The Valiants have won the other two contests by wide margins, 7-0 on Nov. 12 and 8-0 on Dec 3.

“After WNEC cancelled, we wanted to get our guys a 25th game, and Neumann was good enough to help us out,” said Levinthal.

HOBART: Hobart dropped its only contest of the week to Potsdam by a 5-2 score. Potsdam scored two quick goals early in the first period and used the momentum to take ownership of the territorial advantage. Statesmen Sean Elliott got Hobart on the board with only one second left in the first period to pull the team back to only a 2-1 deficit. The second stanza was much like the first. Potsdam rattled off two goals, while Hobart’s Zach Mundy notched a 5-on-3 power-play tally.

The difference this time was that Potsdam added a late period goal to make the score 5-2. Tony Rodgriguez came in relief as Hobart’s netminder for the third period, and the Statesmen were able to finally turn off the Potsdam scoring spigot. Rodriguez stopped all 17 shots that he faced.

Hobart is idle this week. Next up for the Statesmen the week of the 19th are two ECAC West contests to finish off their schedule.

Game Of The Week

Well, with only one league game on tap this week, I guess the choice this week doesn’t require more than about six brain cells (luckily for me).

Elmira heads up to Ritter Arena to take on RIT on Saturday. This is do-or-die for the Soaring Eagles. They absolutely must defeat RIT if they want to keep even a remote chance of an NCAA bid alive. A tie or a win by RIT pretty much assures the Tigers of the Pool B NCAA slot.