The Hobart Statesmen outlasted the Bucknell Bison 10-8 the win. The Statesmen relied on 12 big saves from senior goalie Mike DeSantis. Chipping in offensively was Canadian sophomore Daryl Veltman with two goals and two assists, and Sean Murphy, a sophomore attackman from Buffalo with three goals. For Bucknell, senior goalie Matt Baran was flying all around the field as part of their ten man ride, as well as stepping up between the pipes with 9 needed saves. Freshman John Togneri had two goals and an assist in his first collegiate game.
Both teams headed into the 2006 season with questions to be answered. For Hobart, they had to replace two major scoring threats (one at the midfield and one at the attack) and their goalie in order to improve on their mediocre 7-7 2005 season. Bucknell had to replace their all-time leading scorer, Chris Cara, and his 249 points. Along with that they had to deal with the first ever coaching change in the program’s history.
The game got off to a delayed start as there was a face-off demonstration for both teams to become acclimated to the new rules. “I like it better actually to tell you the truth. It’s not so much waiting. Once they say ‘set’ you had to wait. Now it’s just down and a whistle,” said Hobart’s Dan Spinella. “I’d say it helps me more because it’s just down and go. You don’t have to wait so much for the anticipation.” Spinella and junior John Soden make up a tough FOGO unit for Hobart. “Danny and John are roommates, they’re best friends and they compete every day in practice. We feel like we’re as good as anybody in the country there right now,” said Hobart head coach Matt Kerwick. Soden went 5 of 9 today taking most of the early face-offs, while Spinella went 8 for 13 taking most of the later face-offs.
To send the game into the half, Daryl Veltman made a nice feed off a move at X to Mike Conklin on the crease. Conklin handled the pass with a quickstick finish. Conklin’s goal gave Hobart a 4-2 lead at the half.
Christopher David added to that lead less than a minute into the 2nd half for Hobart. With Bucknell fighting to stop from falling further behind, Hobart’s DeSantis stepped up big. With about eleven minutes remaining in the third period, DeSantis had two point blank saves to temporarily thwart the Bucknell offense. “Michael’s been a great goalie his whole career at Hobart. He just hasn’t had the chance to be the starter, so I’m really happy for Mike,” said Kerwick on his senior goalie. “I expect him to have a big year. He was one of the best goalies in the state of New Jersey when he came out of high school. He’s been very good for us, we’ve just had some good guys ahead of him. So Michael’s going to have to be key for us this year and he was a big key for us today.”
Bucknell would cut into the lead with 6 minutes remaining in the third period. Midfielder Steve Case extended his shortstick defender on the wing. With the defense stretched, Case beat his man and ultimately the goalie with a righty bounce shot. Hobart would grab another three goal lead two minutes later. Senior middie Patrick Meade drove and moved the ball quickly to Christopher David. David finished it with a stick side low shot. Bucknell’s answer again came in the form of Steve Case. He again pulled a shortstick defender out and beat him before a slide could pick him up. Case’s 2nd of the day, cut the lead to two and sent the game to the 4th with a 6-4 Hobart lead.
The fourth quarter would prove to be the most exciting offensively. Hobart again lit up the scoreboard in the first minute of a period. Midfielder Nick Currie drove across the top and drew a slide. The slide left Sean Murphy wide open on the crease. Currie fed Murphy who caught the ball, turned and put it away for his second of the day.
Down 7-4, Bucknell needed to make something happen. And they did. Doug Buckley beat the shortstick covering him making a nice diving play to give Bucknell their 5th goal and life with 12 minutes to play. With the momentum and a man-up opportunity, Bucknell got a little fancy. They had a man up top cut behind the ball carrier while he pretended to flip it to him. He came out of the screen with a fake shot while the ball didn’t change hands. It seemed to be enough to confuse DeSantis as he looked confused as a Kirk Klett slow bouncer got past him, tucking under the crossbar. Off the next face-off, Togneri beat his man underneath and pushed his way top-side. Togneri’s goal came just 13 seconds after Klett’s and tied the game at seven-all.
The momentum shift wouldn’t last long, as Hobart regained the lead with 8:45 to play. They added it to it :42 later on the man-up, Daryl Veltman faked a lefty shot. The fake caused his defender to push out on him. Veltman ducked under the lunge sending the defender over his back leaving him one-on-one with the goalie. Veltman’s man-up goal gave Hobart the 9-7 lead. Not done just yet, Bucknell again cut it to one on a flag-down play-on situation. Joe Mele came up with a loose ball, finding himself open he ripped a shot to make it 9-8 with 5:03 left.
Sean Murphy’s third goal of the day, however, would put the game away for Hobart. Baran got a piece of Murphy’s shot, but it trickled by him leaving the game at 10-8 with just four minutes to play. Bucknell wasn’t without their chances in the waning minutes. DeSantis again had to come up big with a point blank save with 1:30 remaining.
While it was a tightly contested game, it did have its sloppy moments. “I think we knew they’re a great riding team coming in and we worked on it this week. Obviously we could have cleared the ball better,” said Kerwick. Hobart was successful on only 19 of 29 attempted clears, and only 3 of 8 in the fourth quarter which was also gave Bucknell some life. “Our groundball efforts weren’t where we hoped it would be. So those two things. Everything else I thought we did what we hoped to do today. But the groundballs and the clearing were not our strongest point. You’ve got to give credit to Bucknell on that too. They gave a great effort on groundballs, and that ride is very efficient, and that goalie can come out and create some problems for you. The clearing game is something we’re gonna have to work on and usually this time of year that’s pretty normal.”
As for the Bucknell 10-man ride, it did create an opportunity for home-town favorite Hobart senior defenseman Matt “Danger” Murphy. With an open net, Murphy pulled the trigger twice from across midfield, just missing both times. He had quite a contingent of fans donning orange shirts emblazoned with “Danger” on the front and his number (33) on the back. He grew up just minutes from the neutral playing field in Havertown, PA.
|John Togneri||(2, 1)|
|Kirk Klett||(2, 0)|
|Steve Case||(2, 0)|
|Joe Mele||(1, 0)|
|Doug Buckley||(1, 0)|
|Matt Castele||(0, 1)|
|Matt Baran||9 (0.474)|