BY MATTHEW WARD
SC Contributing Writer
The ESU Ice Hockey team won the Keystone Hockey Conference Championship on February 22, 2014, with a 3-2 victory over Lehigh University. Sophomore Joe Bensky tied the game twice by scoring two important goals. ESU’s goaltender Robert Elefante had to make several diving saves from Lehigh, including two breakaways in the third period.
ESU executed excellent and physical plays throughout the entire game. They showed discipline as well, committing just one penalty in the entire game.
ESU’s offensive player Ricky Szygiel delivered a big check into the boards while moments later registering a shot on goal.
At 16:08 in the first period, Lehigh attacked, and scored the first goal.
With only 7:20 remaining in the first, Lehigh gave up a cross checking penalty, and ESU scored on their power play opportunity.
An important play occurred at 1:39 left when Elefante had to make three key saves to keep the game tied at one.
In the second period, ESU had many chances to defeat Lehigh’s strength on the ice. The first opportunity occurred at 11:30 when ESU had a distinct advantage with a five-on-three power play.
During this power play, captain Tom Fallon won two face offs in a row. Also, the team showed fast speed inside the attack zone and registered several shots on goal during this chance. However, Lehigh was determined to win this game.
At 2:21, Lehigh answered back from their penalty kill, and scored their second goal.
With only a period left, ESU needed to score two goals to win this championship game. During the second intermission, Head Coach Dave Nufrio remained positive. “We have twenty minutes to turn this game around. We don’t want to leave anything unturned, “said Nufrio.
One of the hardest working players during the last period was Elefante in front of the net for ESU.
Lehigh had over a dozen chances including two breakaways. This game might have been a run away if it wasn’t for Elelfante’s great saves.
“I was really nervous, I made sure to get my stick where Lehigh’s was. They didn’t get anything on me,” said Elelfante.
At 7:18, ESU pushed through Lehigh’s defense, and tied the game again. The fans for Lehigh were extremely loud and confident in the first two periods.
However, the tables were turning in the third when ESU’s fan base exploded in excitement to carry their team through this win. ESU finished out the game by taking the lead, and quieting the Lehigh crowd.
“The guys didn’t give up, they keep working harder,” said Nufrio.
The whole team was really excited to defeat Lehigh for the second time this season and to win the KHC Championship.
“It feels good to win the championship. My boys in front of me played hard and I wouldn’t have won without them,” said Elefante.
The entire game was uphill battle and Lehigh played hard.
“Lehigh is a very talented team but I was impressed with the work they did,” said Nufrio.
The ESU ice hockey team finished the season with 7 wins and 10 loses.
“It’s been a lot of hard work this season. We started out a little sloppy but we pulled it together, “ said ESU’s Coach Brian Divis.
Three Stars of the Game: #1 Star is Joe Bensky of ESU, #2 Star is Robert Elefante of ESU, #3 Star is Bo Johns of Lehigh.
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