It has been a long preseason with more than the usual number of practices, scrimmages, and exhibition games. Now the action counts, and the excitement can be seen in the players, coaches, and fans alike. Some early-season games of note will tell us who is getting out of the gate fast, but remember, this is not a sprint — it’s a marathon!!
Endicott opened with a Norwich team without long-time coach Mike McShane behind the bench. Cam Ellsworth led the Cadets in the opener against the Gulls, which ended in a 3-3 tie on Saturday. Despite being outshot, 42-26, the Gulls scored three special-teams goals, including a pair from Josh Bowes to take a 3-0 lead midway through the game. The Cadets closed the gap to 3-2 at the end of the second period and scored a power-play goal of their own to tie the game in the third period. Connor O’Brien made 39 saves for the Gulls, including five in overtime to preserve the tie.
In the first tournament of the season, the Curry Colonels took home the Buffalo State championship with a 3-2 win over the host institution. Curry rallied from a two-goal deficit in the second period and made Viktor Jansson’s late power-play goal in the third period stand up for the 3-2 win. Goaltender Cody Murch made 23 saves in the win. Curry got to the title game with a shootout win over Nazareth on Friday following a 2-2 tie.
Post traveled to face an Anna Maria team hosting their inaugural game as an NCAA D-III program on Saturday night. In a very entertaining game, the Amcats took one-goal leads at the end of the first and second periods, only to see Post rally back behind two goals from Anthony Giacomin and third-period tallies from Niko Grollman and Evan Lugo. Three different goaltenders played a period each for Post, with Brandon Brown picking up the 4-3 win by stopping all 12 shots he faced in the final period.
Defending champ Fitchburg State opened their season with a thrilling nonconference game at New England College. Backed by goaltender Brian McGrath’s 37 saves, the Falcons battled the Pilgrims in a back-and-forth affair that was decided in the final five minutes when the Pilgrims’ Adam Zollner scored the game-winner for the hosts, who took a 5-4 win.
Five different goal scorers supplied the offense, and goaltender Evan Morelli made 18 saves to earn the shutout in Plymouth State’s 5-0 win over Johnson & Wales. Michael Covach was the offensive star, recording two goals and two assists for the Panthers.
Assumption opened its season hosting Suffolk in a nonconference battle, and the Greyhounds used two power-play goals from Robert Holyoke and a short-handed tally from Dante Tomassini to earn the 4-2 win in a penalty-filled affair. David Zulauf made 38 saves for Assumption, which was outshot 40-35 for the game.
Hobart opened the new season with a home-and-home series with Elmira and swept their former ECAC West/UCHC rivals by scores of 6-4 and 6-2. Jonas Toupal led the way on Friday night with a pair of goals for the Statesmen, while Travis Schneider matched Toupal with a pair of his own in Saturday’s 6-2 win. Toupal finished the weekend with four goals.
Massachusetts-Boston unleashed its offensive might on Saturday with a 9-0 win over Wentworth. The Beacons went 5-for-11 on the power play and saw 13 different players record a point in the win. Goaltender Bailey MacBurnie made 16 saves in posting the shutout.
The offensive firepower of the weekend came from a Geneseo squad that downed King’s and Neumann by 10-0 and 8-0 scores respectively. Tyson Empey led the Knights with four goals and two assists on the weekend, while goaltender Devin McDonald recorded 25 saves total in both games to earn the shutout wins.
Potsdam picked up a pair of wins in a home-and-home sweep of St. Michael’s, with goalie Nate Skidmore making a combined 58 saves to backstop the Bears. Seven different goal scorers and three power-play goals helped Potsdam open at 2-0 with Saturday’s 7-3 win over the Purple Knights
Utica dropped a pair to a ranked Adrian squad by scores of 3-1 and 3-2. Saturday night’s loss saw the Pioneers get into a 3-0 hole on two power-play goals and a short-handed effort before Gregg Burmaster and Conor Landrigan brought the hosts within one goal. Despite 14 third-period shots, the Pioneers couldn’t find the equalizer and open the season at 0-2.
T.J. Sneath scored a hat trick and goaltender Nick Sorgio stopped all 28 shots he faced as Lebanon Valley opened its season with a 6-0 win over Morrisville on Friday night. The hosts were also very efficient with the man advantage, scoring three goals on nine chances in the win.
Tyson Empey, Geneseo: Empey scored a hat trick, all on the power play, and added an assist for good measure in the Knights’ 8-0 win at Neumann.
Mike Moran, Worcester State: Moran recorded a goal and an assist in regulation before netting the overtime winner in the Lancers’ 4-3 opening night win over Becker.
Wade Novak, Wilkes: Novak helped the new program earn a split in the two-game set with Canton. Novak scored two short-handed goals, including the game-winner in the third period, in a 7-5 win on the road.
It is just the first weekend of the season, and many teams haven’t played a game yet. For those that did, the season is off and running and looking like yet another super-competitive affair to delight fans for the 2018-19 season.