STAMFORD, Conn. – The Manhattanville men's hockey team scored five of the game's final six goals to overcome an early deficit and post an emphatic 5-2 victory over No. 11 Neumann in a key ECAC West Conference matchup on Friday evening at Terry Conners Rink.
Manhattanville (12-7-1, 5-4-1 ECAC West) snaps a three-game losing streak and remains in third place in the conference standings with the win, moving three points ahead of Neumann (12-6-2, 4-6-0 ECAC West) with five conference games left on the schedule.
Freshman Matt Coleman (Brentwood, N.Y./Springfield Pics (EJHL)) led the Valiants with two goals on the day, while a pair of captains, senior co-captain Brett Skalski (Exton, Pa./Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)) and junior assistant captain Craig Simchuk (Winnipeg, Man./Winnipeg Saints (MJHL)), added a goal and an assist apiece. Sophomore Paul Sirignano (St. Catharines, Ont./Thorold Blackhawks (OJHL)) also scored and sophomore netminder Brian Fleming (Saint John, N.B./Northern Cyclones (AJHL)) even got into the act with his first career assist.
Mikko Virtanen had a goal and an assist and Scott Elkow also scored for Neumann in a losing effort.
Neumann came out and controlled play for the first portion of the day, as Elkow opened the scoring 3:28 into the contest and the Knights took nine of the game's first 13 shots. However, Manhattanville was able to push back after the initial surge and, while the Valiants did not score in the opening frame, the home team took back enough momentum to post a 10-9 edge in shots over the first 20 minutes.
The game changed dramatically in the second period, when the Valiants scored three times to take control for the first time. Sirignano evened the score 3:36 into the middle frame, as he stuffed home a rebound in front of the Knights' net for his fifth tally of the year.
Virtanen put Neumann back on top at the 11:35 mark, but Manhattanville came back with two goals in less than a minute soon after to take its first lead of the game. Coleman evened the score again at 13:52 when his shot from a nearly impossible angle somehow eluded Neumann netminder Braely Torris. Then a mere 51 seconds later, Simchuk won a puck in the corner and fed into the slot for an onrushing Skalski, who blasted a wicked one-timer past Torris for his fifth of the season to make it 3-2.
Manhattanville posted a 14-5 edge in shots in the middle frame, and as a result took that one-goal lead into the third period.
The Valiants increased their lead at 8:35 of the final frame with another hustle play from a forward. This time it was senior assistant captain Scott Hudson (St. Albert, Alta./Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)) who raced to intercept a clearing attempt by Torris in the corner and fed out in front for Coleman, who found the net before the netminder could get reset in his crease.
Down by two with two minutes remaining, Neumann pulled Torris while on the power play looking to get back in the game. However that move backfired as a dump into the offensive zone was cleared up the ice by Fleming, and Simchuk raced to the puck and fired it into the empty net to seal and the win and give Fleming his first collegiate point.
For the game, Manhattanville posted a 36-24 edge in shots, taking more shots than the Knights in all three periods. Fleming returned to form by making 22 saves on 24 shots, while Torris suffered the loss despite making 31 saves on 35 shots.
Manhattanville and Neumann will renew acquaintances tomorrow night in Aston, Pa., as the two teams complete their home-and-home weekend series at Ice Works beginning at 7 p.m.