The University of Delaware’s Ice Hockey team scored two third period goals enroute to a 3-1 victory over Davenport University Saturday afternoon in the second round of the ACHA Men’s Division I National Championships held this week at the Hoover Arena in Strongsville, Ohio.
Delaware’s second year head coach M.F. Schurman said he was pleased with his team’s effort over most of the sixty minutes.
“We had a slow start, but we finished very well," he said. "It was nice to get that first tournament victory today over a quality program.”
During a grueling first period, the Blue Hens skated to a 1-0 lead over the defending national champions on a goal by senior Jason Michaud at the 17:46 mark. But lightning would strike shortly thereafter as Davenport’s Zack Blumke ripped a shot past the Hens’ goalkeeper S.J. Broadt with a mere twenty seconds remaining in the opening frame to knot the game at 1-1. Neither team was able to capitalize on their few power play opportunities.
After a hard-hitting and close checking second period, the Hens would regain the lead on a power play goal by junior Ryan McDonald at 3:17 of the third period. McDonald’s goal came on a hard rebound off the back boards as he held his position in front of the Panthers’ netminder Phil Graveline. The talented sophomore was the winning goaltender in last season’s National Championship game played at the Fred Rust Ice Arena on the University of Delaware campus.
The Hens received a much-welcomed insurance goal at 7:13 of the third when sophomore Chris Volonnino fired a tracer over Graveline’s shoulder to build a 3-1 lead. Following Voloninno’s goal, Delaware maintained offensive pressure rather than attempting to drop back into a defensive shell. The strategy was so effective that Graveline was unable to leave Davenport’s nets for a sixth attacker until a scant 32 seconds remaining in the contest.
Delaware captain Andre Menard said he was also pleased the way the team responded after giving up a goal late in the first period.
“No doubt we played much better after that first period," Menard said. "Now we have to keep playing hard for three gamed, one period at a time and one shift at a time.”
The Hens improved to 31-3-1 overall on the season while Davenport finished the season at 15-14. Delaware now takes on Ohio University Sunday in a quarterfinal matchup.