Manhattanville Secures Season Sweep of Elmira with 5-1 Win

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STAMFORD, Conn. – Junior Luc Van Natter (Fort Erie, Ont./Aurora Tigers (OPJHL)) potted a pair of goals to lead a 46-shot offensive attack as the 15th-ranked Manhattanville men's hockey team secured its first-ever season sweep of Elmira and also clinched a home first-round playoff game with a dominating 5-1 victory over the Soaring Eagles in a Tuesday afternoon ECAC West Conference matinee at Terry Conners Rink.
 
Manhattanville (13-8-2, 6-5-2 ECAC West) jumps over Neumann into third place in the conference standings with both teams facing two more games in the regular season. As a result of the win, the Valiants are locked into either third or fourth place, and as a result will host either Elmira (10-14-0, 5-9-0 ECAC West) or Nazareth in the first round of the ECAC West Tournament on February 20.
 
If this was a potential postseason preview, Manhattanville must have liked what it saw on Tuesday, as the Valiants dominated action over the final 40 minutes to pull away with the victory. The home team posted a 46-26 edge in total shots on the day and got goals from Van Natter (two), senior Jason Bowles (Elkhorn, Man./Waywayseecappo Wolverines (MJHL)), sophomore JP Witkop (Fairport, N.Y./Merritt Centennials (BCHL)) and freshman Paul Allan Bamberg (Lulea, Sweden/Lulea HF J20 (SWE)) in the win.
 
After a scoreless first period of action, the Valiants completely dominated the middle frame, taking 22 shots to Elmira's five and scoring three times to take control of the game.
 
Witkop got the scoring started with his first career tally at the 11:50 mark. Junior assistant captain Craig Simchuk (Winnipeg, Man./Winnipeg Saints (MJHL)) forced a turnover in the offensive end and fed the puck back to the blue line for Witkop, who fired a shot off the shoulder of Elmira netminder Darren McDonald and over the goal line for the score.
 
The Valiants followed with two goals in 65 seconds later in the frame to take a big lead into the intermission. Bowles made it 2-0 with 2:42 remaining when he picked up the rebound of a shot by sophomore Mark Rivera (Belmar, N.J./Springfield Pics (EJHL)) and stuffed it home for his sixth of the year. Bamberg made it a three-goal lead soon after, as he took a pass from sophomore Kevin Struempfler (Lincoln University, Pa./Springfield Pics (EJHL)) and put a wrister over McDonald's shoulder with 1:37 left on the clock.
 
Manhattanville continued the offensive attack in the third period, as Van Natter scored twice to open up a five-goal advantage. He finished off a two-on-one break with freshman Matt Coleman (Brentwood, N.Y./Springfield Pics (EJHL)) to make it a 4-0 score, rifling a shot into the top corner for his eighth of the year at the 10:59 mark. The junior struck again on a five-on-three advantage, taking feeds from senior assistant captain Scott Hudson (St. Albert, Alta./Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)) and sophomore Anton Racklin (Gothenburg, Sweden/Fairbanks Ice Dogs (NAHL)) to light the lamp at 14:02.
 
Jarryd ten Vaanholt ruined the shutout bid of sophomore Alex Scola (Exeter, N.H./Woodstock Slammers (MJHL)) by stuffing the puck home on a delayed penalty with 3:15 remaining in the regulation, but it was too little too late for the Soaring Eagles.
 
Scola improved to 4-1-0 on the year by turning aside 25 of the 26 shots he faced, while McDonald fell to 5-8-0 by allowing all five goals on 46 shots.
 
Manhattanville will conclude the regular season with a key two-game series with #7/2 Utica at Terry Conners Rink on Friday and Saturday. The weekend series begins on Friday at 6 p.m., with the live GoValiants.TV coverage starting at 5:45 p.m.

lor:bla�} <rP�lstyle='background:white'>Witkop got the scoring started with his first career tally at the 11:50 mark. Junior assistant captain Craig Simchuk (Winnipeg, Man./Winnipeg Saints (MJHL)) forced a turnover in the offensive end and fed the puck back to the blue line for Witkop, who fired a shot off the shoulder of Elmira netminder Darren McDonald and over the goal line for the score.
 
The Valiants followed with two goals in 65 seconds later in the frame to take a big lead into the intermission. Bowles made it 2-0 with 2:42 remaining when he picked up the rebound of a shot by sophomore Mark Rivera (Belmar, N.J./Springfield Pics (EJHL)) and stuffed it home for his sixth of the year. Bamberg made it a three-goal lead soon after, as he took a pass from sophomore Kevin Struempfler (Lincoln University, Pa./Springfield Pics (EJHL)) and put a wrister over McDonald's shoulder with 1:37 left on the clock.
 
Manhattanville continued the offensive attack in the third period, as Van Natter scored twice to open up a five-goal advantage. He finished off a two-on-one break with freshman Matt Coleman (Brentwood, N.Y./Springfield Pics (EJHL)) to make it a 4-0 score, rifling a shot into the top corner for his eighth of the year at the 10:59 mark. The junior struck again on a five-on-three advantage, taking feeds from senior assistant captain Scott Hudson (St. Albert, Alta./Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)) and sophomore Anton Racklin (Gothenburg, Sweden/Fairbanks Ice Dogs (NAHL)) to light the lamp at 14:02.
 
Jarryd ten Vaanholt ruined the shutout bid of sophomore Alex Scola (Exeter, N.H./Woodstock Slammers (MJHL)) by stuffing the puck home on a delayed penalty with 3:15 remaining in the regulation, but it was too little too late for the Soaring Eagles.
 
Scola improved to 4-1-0 on the year by turning aside 25 of the 26 shots he faced, while McDonald fell to 5-8-0 by allowing all five goals on 46 shots.
 
Manhattanville will conclude the regular season with a key two-game series with #7/2 Utica at Terry Conners Rink on Friday and Saturday. The weekend series begins on Friday at 6 p.m., with the live GoValiants.TV coverage starting at 5:45 p.m.

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