Manhattanville Takes Control of Second in ECAC West with 5-3 Win over #5 Hobart

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GENEVA, N.Y. – Sophomore Matt Lippa (Richmond Hill, Ont./Oakville Blades (OJHL)) scored two goals to add to his team-leading total as the Manhattanville College men's hockey team assumed firm control of second place in the ECAC West Conference with a big 5-3 win over and #5 Hobart College on Friday night at the Geneva Recreation Center.
The win puts Manhattanville (13-9-1, 9-3-0 ECAC West) in the driver's seat for a top-two seed in the ECAC West Tournament, as the Valiants sit four points ahead of Hobart for second place with two games to go and also hold the tiebreaker with the Statesmen. One Valiant win in the final two games of the regular season or one Hobart loss would clinch Manhattanville's 11th top-two finish in the last 15 years.
Lippa paced Manhattanville with a pair of goals and has four goals and two assists as part of a current four-game point streak, giving him a team-leading 14 markers on the year. Sophomore Bryan Platt (Trumbull, Conn./Springfield Pics (USPHL)) also continued his hot streak by scoring for the fifth time in the last six games to reach double-figures in goals, while sophomore Axel Walltott (Stockholm, Sweden/Varmdo HC J20 (SWE)) scored his first career goal and classmate Eric Berglund (Sollentuna, Sweden/Islanders Hockey Club (USPHL)) scored his seventh as well for the visitors.
Friday was another win over a nationally ranked team for Manhattanville, who moved to 4-2-0 this season against nationally ranked squads – including three wins against national top-five teams. The victory also snaps a nine-game winless streak for the Valiants in Geneva, dating back to their last win at Hobart in November 2010.
After a scoreless first period, Manhattanville exploded for four goals in the pivotal second stanza, as the visitors outshot the Statesmen by a 15-6 margin and scored four of the period's five goals to take a 4-1 lead into the final frame.
Platt started the scoring on the power play at the 1:46 mark, with assists going to senior Tanner Hicks (Calgary, Alta./Brooks Bandits (AJHL)) and junior Kevin Loppatto (Plano, Texas/Springfield Pics (USPHL)), and Berglund followed 66 seconds later from senior co-captain Nolan Marshall (Drumheller, Alta./Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL)) and junior Stephen Gaul (Downers Grove, Ill./Springfield Pics (USPHL)). After Hobart got one back on the power play at the 8:48 mark, Manhattanville struck for two goals in 12 seconds from Lippa and Walltott to open up a three-goal lead with 6:55 left in the period.
The home team attempted to regain some momentum on a Jordan Haskell goal 2:45 into the final period, but Lippa put an end to that with his second of the night at 8:16 of the third to give the Valiants an insurmountable advantage.
Sophomore Tyler Feaver (Whitby, Ont./Whitby Fury (OJHL)) ceded only one even-strength goal for Manhattanville in picking up his 11th victory of the season, turning aside 29 of the 32 shots he faced. Hobart's Frank Oplinger made 24 saves and allowed all five goals at the other end of the ice, as the Statesmen held a 32-29 edge in shots.
Manhattanville will look to keep the momentum going tomorrow night, when the Valiants travel south to the Murray Athletic Center to take on Elmira College in an ECAC West Conference clash beginning at 7 p.m.

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