The Hobart Statesmen won their second ECAC West championship in school history by defeating Neumann 5-0 Saturday night at The Cooler.
Hobart’s other league title came in 2004.
“I had a good sense of what was going on in the locker room this week and tried to stay out of the way,” said Hobart coach Mark Taylor. “We wanted to make a big statement about how we are playing right now and I think [beating] Neumann University 5-0 is a heck of a big statement.”
The second period was a wild affair that turned the game in Hobart’s favor. The fireworks began at 7:44 when Neumann was awarded a penalty shot for a Hobart player letting go of his stick to prevent a pass.
Sophomore Mike Rey took the shot for Neumann and tried to steer the puck around Statesmen goaltender Nick Broadwater, but Broadwater extended his left pad and kept the game scoreless.
“Any time that happens, it kind of gives you an invincible feeling, especially when you add in all of the power plays they had earlier as well,” said Taylor.
Hobart (16-10-1) built momentum off of the big stop by its netminder and erupted for three quick goals six minutes later.
Junior Bobby Hannah scored at 12:53 when he made a strong move into the Neumann zone shorthanded and tucked the puck inside the far post to get Hobart on the board.
Senior Greg Ciciola chipped in a puck off a scramble at the side of the net at 15:48 and freshman Peter Quigley scored off a deflection at 17:03. In that 4:06 span, Hobart built a mountainous 3-0 lead.
“We came out great,” said Neumann coach Dominick Dawes. “All the credit in the world to Hobart. They straight out beat us. They hung in there and were opportunistic and it turned the tide. We had our chances early, but we didn’t finish. Emotionally, we have been through a lot the last month and a half and it got the best of us.”
The first period was very physical as both teams tried to establish a presence on the ice. A spat of penalties gave Neumann a 5-on-3 power play for a little over a minute plus two other single player power plays. The Hobart defense gave ground, but kept the Knights off the scoreboard and the first period ended scoreless.
Hobart’s defense clamped down in the third period, preventing Neumann (15-8-3) from coming back from a third-period deficit as it has done in the previous two playoff rounds this year.
Ciciola and Quigley each added their second goals of the night in the third to reach the final 5-0 score.