Who’s talking about the DePaul Hockey Club besides those teams likely to face the Blue Demons at the American Collegiate Hockey Association, Division II Regional Finals, February 25th and 26th? The answers no one—not even their own University newspaper, The DePaulia.This past weekend, the 24-0-3 DePaul Hockey Club dispatched the Eastern Illinois University Panthers with back-to-back 10 goal wins allowing only one goal the entire weekend.
Unfortunately for the Blue Demons there were few spectators, except for a group of DePaul parents and a much larger contingent of Panther supporters.
Here are a few reasons that DePaul students, alumni and most importantly hockey fans, might want to come out to see the team as they go up against Michigan Tech this Friday and Saturday or the following weekend when they host the ACHA Division II Regional Finals at the North Shore Ice Arena:
In League competition the Blue Demons are 23-0-1. In Exhibition competition, they are 1-0-0 and in Tournament play, they are 1-0-2 suffering their only defeats in overtime play. That’s solid hockey at any level of competition.
THE FRIDAY GAME:
Senior goalie Cory Netrefa produced a familiar result Friday night for the Blue Demons logging his second shutout of the season. Netrefa competently defended several odd man rushes from the Panthers during the first period while his team found their legs.
Brian Zmarlicki broke the ice for DePaul at 5:53 in the first period scoring on assists from Blake Zemaitis and Matthew Porter.
Although the Panthers outshot the Blue Demons, 18 to 15 in their first period of play Friday night, the speed of the game picked up with DePaul outshooting Eastern 24 to 7 in the second frame.
At 14:03 in the second period the storm began with seven pucks finding their way to the back of the net past Panther goalie, Andrew Teske.
Throughout the game the Blue Demons kept themselves in the play scoring time and again on second and third deflections shots.
Senior Andy Ritter scored twice in the second period at 14:03 on an assist from juniors Kurt Akers and Tom Jepsen and at 8:59 on the clock, teaming again with Akers and this time sophomore Pierce Baron.
Center Cody Staehely, also a senior, found the net for DePaul at 12:50 in the second period assisted by sophomore wingers David Pukszta and Anthony Rossobillo. Senior winger Danny Pietro picked up his fourth goal on the season at 10:50 in the frame assisted by freshman defenseman Steve Brooks. Rossobillo followed with a goal at 8:32 assisted by Ritter and Ackers.
Zmarlicki found the net again in the second frame at 5:42 on assists from DePaul’s freshman center Joe Gatto and Zemaitis. As the second period clock wound down to 4:03, Baron scored his ninth goal of the season on an assist from Ritter.
In the third period, Akers found the net at 15:28 for the sixteenth time this season on an assist from sophomore winger Vince Volpe. And, with just 00:17 left on the clock Michael Dotson launched the puck past Teske to end the game, assisted by Akers and freshman winger Sean McMahon.
Entering the North Shore Ice Arena last weekend, both the Panthers and Blue Demons’ hockey clubs walked in the door winning four of their last five games. But the horizon for Panther’s coach Dan Runnion was in an entirely different direction than Blue Demon coach Jerry Fronek.
After sweeping Lewis University 12-3 and 16-3, splitting a series with the University of Missouri, winning, then losing 5-4, and dominating Eastern Kentucky University 10-1, the Panthers proud coach Dan Runnion also knows that their 47 goals in the last five games has come at a price.
“I think it would have been better if we played them at the middle of the season before all the injuries started coming” said Coach Runnion. Three Eastern top scorers were out for the first game of the series. Senior forward Sam Gottosch was out with a knee injury. Freshman winger Jacob Armijo is out with a lacerated kidney. Junior forward Zack Yurchak—who has been out with back spasms—missed the Friday night game due to preparations for a state skills test on Saturday.
Still, Runnion is confident that his team can play with any of the nationally ranked team’s like DePaul when they’re healthy. Importantly, Eastern has five players with game winning goals this season and will see almost their entire team return for the 2012-2013 season, losing only Senior forwards Matthew Smart and Connor Maly who has 13 goals and 23 points going into Friday’s game.
Despite suffering a 10-0 shutout loss Friday night, Panther’s forward Connor Maly optimistically predicted a different game come Saturday night.
Eastern freshman Chris Gallaghar was scratched with a broken leg.
Cody Staehely was injured in the final minutes of the third period. The extent of his injury made him unavailable for Saturday’s game but he is expected back on the ice for the Regional playoffs.
Eastern sophomore defensemen Joe Salazar and Steven Kriegshauser each sat two minutes for roughing and freshman Henry Capouch served two minutes for a knee violation.
DePaul’s McMahon, Akers and junior defenseman Jeff Fehrmann each sat two minutes for roughing. Pietro sat two minutes for slashing.
THE SATURDAY GAME:
Civility was hard to come by as DePaul University—for the second time in as many days—slapped ten pucks past Panther goalie, Teske.
Frustrations were running particularly high for the Panthers who managed to collect forty-two penalty minutes—eighteen of which belonged to sophomore Joe Salazar.
Salazar was back on the ice at 10:30 of the first period--after sitting two minutes for roughing and two minutes for holding--for a total of forty-five seconds before receiving another two minutes for roughing and a ten minute misconduct penalty which took him off the ice until 18:45 of the second frame.
By the third period, civility collapsed at both ends of the ice with Panther’s Kriegshauser and DePaul’s Gatto each receiving a ten minute misconduct penalty.
Avoiding back-to-back shutouts, junior forward Zach Yurchak scored the only goal of the weekend for the Panthers’ with 13:17 left in the third frame spoiling a perfect game for DePaul freshman goalie David Kettelhut who competently defended the net for the Blue Demons.
The DePaul Blue Demons will face Michigan Tech at the North Shore Ice Arena Friday and Saturday, February 17th and 18th.
First Period Scoring:
- DePaul freshman forward Mario Carbonaro scored at 16:50 in the first period on an assist from Blake Zemaitis;
- Brian Zmarlicki also scored at 5:39 in the first period on an assist from Zemaitis;
- Senior winger Tony Klonowski scored at 4:48 in the first period;
Second Period Scoring:
- Kurt Akers scored at 11:56 on an assist from Pierce Baron and Jeff Fehrmann;
- Jeff Fehrmann scored at 7:28 on an assist from Carbonaro;
- Blake Zemaitis scored a 2:28 assisted by Akers;
- Pierce Baron scored at 1:47 assisted by Christian DiVito;
Third Period Scoring:
- Kurt Akers scored at 19:30 assisted by Klonowski and Putszta
- Panther’s forward Zach Yurchak scored the Eastern’s only goal at 13:17;
- Blake Zemaitis scored at 8:15 in the period on an assist from Anthony Sangiacomo.
Senior center Billy Allen--the Blue Demons top scorer with 23 goals and 48 points--was unavailable for both games against the Eastern Illinois Panthers.