The Delaware Blue Hens went up 9-1 over the Drexel Dragons and held on for the important CAA Conference win Saturday night.
NEWARK, Del. -- All-American Curtis Dickson netted three goals, John Austin and Nick Elsmo (at right) each scored twice, and the University of Delaware used a smothering defense to knock off another ranked Colonial Athletic Association opponent with a 10-6 triumph over No. 11 Drexel at Delaware Stadium Saturday night.
Delaware (7-6, 2-2 CAA), which won its second straight game, held Drexel to just one goal through the first 51 minutes of the contest and won going away to set up a key meeting at Penn State in the regular season finale next Saturday.
Should the Hens knock off the Nittany Lions (2-10, 1-3 CAA), they would secure the No. 2 seed in the upcoming four-team CAA Tournament and earn a home berth for the semifinals.
Drexel, which was looking to lock up a post-season berth with a win, lost its second straight and fell to 9-4 (2-2 CAA). The Dragons had lost their three games this season by a combined total of just six goals - to the likes of nationally ranked Virginia, Villanova, and Towson - but never threatened against the Blue Hens on this night.
Dickson (bottom left), who was named the Milt Roberts Most Valuable Player for the game, scored three goals and extended his streaks to 22 straight games with a goal and 53 straight with a point. He entered the game leading the nation in total points and upped his season goal total to 48, just two shy of becoming the first UD player to reach 50 goals in a season since All-American John Grant scored 56 in 1999.
Elsmo, a first-year transfer from Virginia, entered the game with just four goals all season but gave the Blue Hens a big lift as he scored twice as part of a five-goal second quarter that lifted Delaware to a 5-1 lead at halftime. Austin enjoyed is second multiple goal game of the season and extended his point-scoring streak to 11 games while Grant Kaleikau contributed a goal and an assist.
Delaware goalkeeper Noah Fossner turned back 12 Drexel shots and held the Dragons to a single goal until the final nine minutes of the fourth quarter. The Hens have now held opponents to six goals or less in a game four times this season.
Drexel, which was held to its lowest goal total of the season but outshot the Hens 35-34, got two goals from Colin Ambler while Robert Church, Brendan Glynn, and Adam Dennis each contributed a goal and an assist.
Goalkeeper Mark Manos, who entered the game ranked in the national top 10 for goals against average and save percentage, posted 11 saves.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Hens took control by scoring five goals in the second stanza to take a 5-1 lead into the break. Elsmo broke ice by scoring the game’s first goal just 1:29 into the second stanza and Dickson followed just 57 seconds later for a 2-0 Delaware lead. Drexel tallied its first goal of the night when Dennis took a feed from Glynn at the 8:52 mark.
Delaware then reeled off seven straight goals over the next 26 minutes to cruise to the victory. Kaleikau, Elsmo, Eric Smith each scored to lead the Hens to the 5-1 halftime lead and goals by Dickson, Austin, and Ruiz in the third quarter pushed the advantage to 8-1. When Austin scored just under two minutes into the final stanza, he gave the Hens an insurmountable 9-1 lead.
Drexel finally snapped a scoring drought that lasted just over 30 minutes when Ambler scored with 8:32 left and Church tallied just 29 seconds later. Delaware broke the string on a goal by Dickson with 5:15 left to push the lead to 10-3, but three goals by the Dragons over the final five minutes weren’t nearly enough.
Delaware, whose 32nd-year head coach Bob Shillinglaw was coaching his 500th career contest at UD, has now posted consecutive victories over nationally-ranked opponents for the first time since 2008 when the Hens defeated No. 18 Rutgers and No. 16 Albany in consecutive games.
Shots: Drexel - 35, Delaware 34; Groundballs: Drexel - 34, Delaware - 25; Faceoffs: Drexel - 11, Delaware - 8; Clears: Drexel - 20 of 21, Delaware - 22 of 23; Extra Man Goals: Drexel - 0 for. 6, Delaware - 0 for 3; Penalties: Drexel - 3 for 2:00, Delaware - 6 for 5:00; Saves: Drexel - 11 (Mark Manos), Delaware - 12 (Noah Fossner); Turnovers: Drexel - 13, Delaware - 13; Attendance: 901.
|Curtis Dickson||(3, 0)|
|John Austin||(2, 0)|
|Nick Elsmo||(2, 0)|
|Grant Kaleikau||(1, 1)|
|Andrew Rohacik||(0, 1)|
|Connor Fitzgerald||(0, 1)|
|Eric Smith||(1, 0)|
|Anthony Ruiz||(1, 0)|
|Noah Fossner||12 (0.667)|