ROCHESTER, N .Y. -- Host Nazareth dominated Manhattanville in an ECAC West hockey playoff game Wednesday as the Golden Flyers built a 5-0 advantage before settling for a 5-1 win over the Valiants in a first-round game.
The Golden Flyers, hosting their first-ever playoff game, improved to 12-9-5 overall, while Manhattanville finishes at 7-14-5. Nazareth will play again Saturday at second-seeded Neumann in the conference semifinals. Top-seeded Hobart will host Elmira in the other conference semifinal game. The championship game is March 7 at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Against Manhattanville, Nazareth unleashed a school-record 49 shots and scored twice each in the first two periods and then once in the third. Five different players scored with sophomore C.J. Murray getting one goal and one assist and sophomore Dominik Gabaj contributing two assists.
Sophomore Ben Blasko opened the scoring just 2:51 into the first period as he beat Valiants' goaltender Brian Fleming with a quick wrist shot off assists from Gabaj and freshman defenseman Ryan Walter. Nazareth scored again with just :49 left in the first period after Fleming saved an initial shot by Murray, senior Tom Seravalli was there to stuff in the rebound.
Freshman John Power made the score 3-0 at 5:19 of the second after James Redman intercepted a pass and delivered an assist. It was Power's third goal of the season. With just :27 left in the perioid, Murray scored his seventh goal of the season with an assist from sophomore Justin LaCorte.
Then in the third period, after misfiring on their first four power play chances, Nazareth converted at 13:39 of the third after Manhattanville's Phil Dinner was whistled for a roughing penalty. Junior Rocky Gruttadauria scored the goal, his fifth of the season, with assists from Gabaj and freshman Oliver Janzen.
Tthe Golden Flyers were on the verge of recording their second shutout win of the season against the Valiants, who finally got on scoreboard with less than six minutes remaining as Teasgan Waugh converted a pass from Matt Coleman to beat Nazareth goalie Ed Zdolshek, who totaled 22 saves. Fleming had 44 saves for the Valiants.
In addition to outshooting the Valiants 49-23, Nazareth also won 46 of 67 faceoffs with Blasko winning 13 of 20 and Julius Tamasy 12 of 17.