Score: Elmira College 4, Manhattanville College 3
Records: Elmira (14-9-3), Manhattanville (12-9-5)
Location: Playland Ice Casino -- Rye, N.Y.
RYE, N.Y. -- A third-period goal by Chris Moses '19, sealed a thrilling 4-3 victory for the Elmira College men's ice hockey team over Manhattanville College in the quarterfinal round of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) Tournament tonight at the Playland Ice Casino in Rye, New York. In the semifinals, the fifth-seeded Soaring Eagles will challenge the second-seeded Mustangs of Stevenson on Saturday, February 24.
The opening period of today's bout was evenly fought for much of the stanza. EC's starting goalie Gennaro Anzevino '21 was strong for much of the first, as he made 10 saves in the opening 20 minutes. Unfortunately for the Soaring Eagles, the Valiants were able to take a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal with 1:02 left in the period. Taylor Bommarito scored the goal with a slap shot that flew by Anzevino, as he was screened in the front of the crease.
Nick Ford '20 tied the score at 1-all at the 2:50 mark of the second period. Ford was set up by the face-off circle on Manhattanville's end of the ice when he received a pass from Matthew Cuce '20 that he then rocketed into the top-right corner of the Valiants' goal. Ford and Cuce's linemate Connor Powell '20 also record an assist on the play. This goal is Ford's team-leading 22nd of the year.
After Manhattanville retook the lead with a Jared Martin goal at the 11-minute mark of the second, Elmira again knotted the score, this time at 2-2. The tally was created by a two-on-one chance for Powell and Cuce. Powell took a Cuce pass and deked Manhattanville's starting goalie Tyler Feaver to beat him into the bottom corner of the cage.
Elmira took its first lead of the night with a breakaway goal from Powell, his second of the game. Ford found Powell with a streaking pass just 17 seconds into the third to put the Soaring Eagles ahead by a 3-2 score. Ryan Blais '21 was credited with the secondary assist on the tally.
The Valiants tied the score at 3-all with a rebounded shot from Axel Walltott at the 8:59 mark of the third period. Bommarito took the initial shot that Anzevino wasn't able to corral, which Walltott possessed and slid into the back of the net.
Less than a minute and a half later, Chris Moses '19 put the Soaring Eagles up 4-3. With Patrick Schmelzinger '20 and Moses attacking the goal, Feaver came out of the crease to grab the puck. This ended up being a mistake, as Moses was able to take the puck and bury it into the empty cage for the late lead. Brent Lafayette '19 also earned an assist on the eventual game-winner.
With 10 minutes left in the contest, it was up to Anzevino to keep Manhattanville from tying the score. The freshman from South Hackensack, New Jersey, played like a veteran tonight, as he made 31 saves, a game-high 14 coming in the critical third period. In the final 46 seconds alone, when the Valiants pulled their goalie, Anzevino made three crucial saves to punch EC's ticket to the semifinal round.
In His Own Words…
Head Coach Aaron Saul '98 shares his thoughts on tonight's big win…
"It was a tough battle all night. We competed the entire game, which we needed to do against a tough Manhattanville team."
Coach Saul on Moses' game-winning goal in the third period…
"Chris Moses' line was very good all game. They work so hard all day, every day and they do not always get on the score sheet. It was great to see them connect on the game-winner. It is the greatest goal of his career thus far and I am happy for him."
Coach Saul on the play of his top line of Ford, Powell and Cuce…
"All three strive to be the best players on the ice. They want that challenge and they feed off it. Their line gets every team's best defensive unit and they still find success. It is a credit to them."
Coach Saul on the play of EC's starting goalie Anzevino…
"Gennaro Anzevino was excellent tonight. To win postseason games, you need solid goaltending and he gave that to us tonight."
NEWS AND NOTES
- Elmira improves to 14-9-3 overall this season and advances to the UCHC Tournament semifinals to face second-seeded Stevenson on Saturday, February 24.
- EC ended Manhattanville's seven-game unbeaten streak in the all-time series, as the Soaring Eagles earned their first win over the Valiants since January 24, 2015.
- The victory is Elmira's first in the postseason since the Soaring Eagles beat Utica, 5-2, in the ECAC West Quarterfinals in 2014-15.
- EC has scored a power-play goal in three consecutive games, just one shy of its longest such streak of the year.
- With three points (2g-1a), Powell became the second Soaring Eagle to reach the 40-point plateau this season, marking the first time Elmira has had multiple 40-point scorers in a season in over 20 years.
- Ford netted his 22nd goal of the season vs. Manhattanville, the most by a Soaring Eagle since Rusty Masters '10 scored 22 in 2007-08.
- Blais (1g-19a) is the first Elmira blueliner to amass 20-plus points in a season since former All-American Karl Linden '11 logged 20 points (6g-14a) as a senior in 2010-11.
- Moses' goal was the first game-winner of his career.
- Cuce has recorded at least one point in nine of the last ten games.
- Anzevino is unbeaten in his last five starts, going 4-0-1 in those contests.
- Anzevino has won eight games this season, the most by an EC netminder since Sal Magliocco '17 won 11 times as a freshman in 2013-14.
The Soaring Eagles will head to Reisterstown, Maryland, to battle the second-seeded Mustangs of Stevenson on their home ice of the Reisterstown Sportsplex. The start time of the semifinal matchup has not been determined yet.