by PJ Dumnich
Fans and players gather around for a group photo during the free skate – Photo by PJ Dumnich
Coming off of a successful weekend in which they improved their national league record to 15-2-0, different from their local league record of 14-2-1, the Pitt-Greensburg Bobcats faced off against the University of Delaware.
With goaltender Ryan Palonis in net, Dan Merz started the game off strong with a goal on the Bobcats’ first shift of the night, with an assist from Dante Youhon.
A couple of penalties would follow the goal, but it was Delaware that would capitalize with a power play goal to tie the game up at 1-1.
Youhon answered right back with a goal of his own, assisted by Billy Dixon, to put the Bobcats up once more.
A long period of scrappy play and penalties would follow, but Vecchio found the back of the net to silence the opponent, with an assist from Luc Tilley. The Bobcats lead by a score of 3-1 to end the first period.
Another Bobcat goal would have virtually sealed the game, but Delaware opened the scoring with a timely goal for the second period.
Stepping up whenever Delaware was making a comeback, Vecchio scored his second of the night, assisted by Garrett Woznichak, and quickly followed up with a hat-trick, assisted by Tilley and Merz, to put Pitt-Greensburg up by 5-2.
Delaware scored on the powerplay one minute later, but it was Vecchio to put the Bobcats up by a total of three goals once again, with assists from Merz and Woznichak.
Ending the period in which twelve penalties occurred, Merz scored his second goal of the night, with assists from Dixon and Vecchio, to put the Bobcats up 7-3.
The third period brought along a lot of scrappy play along with it, as Tilly and Dan DeMarchi were given game misconducts, as well as two game misconducts from Delaware.
The lone goal of the period came from Delaware, but it was not enough to defeat the Bobcats on this penalty-filled night. In total, 33 penalties were given between the two teams. Palonis saved an impressive 35 of 39 shots, while the Bobcats put up 23 shots of their own.
Winning by a total of 7-4, the Bobcats improved their record to 16-2.
The following night, the Bobcats took on Washington & Jefferson College.
The crowd was a little larger than usual, as Pitt-Greensburg students were given free admission and a free skate that immediately followed the game.
Putting on quite the show for the many fans that attended, DJ Petrovay scored a goal on the opening shift. Meer seconds later, Anthony Maroadi scored a goal of his own to put the Bobcats up 2-0 early on in the first period.
Capitalizing on a couple of W&J penalties, Woznichak scored a 5-on-3 power play goal.
In a similar situation, W&J answered with a 5-on-3 powerplay goal of their own, following a period of penalties for the home team.
To end the penalty-filled period that seemed to carry over from the previous night, Pitt-Greensburg lead by a score of 3-2.
40 seconds into the second, W&J took advantage of a Bobcat penalty and tied the game up at 3-3. Youhon would answer with his first goal of the night, assisted by Woznichak, however, and Pitt-Greensburg once again took the lead.
If not for the vast amount of incredible saves from Palonis, the Bobcats would have been down early on in the game.
Taking advantage of his goaltender’s strong play, Tilley blasted one in from the point to put the Bobcats up 5-3. To further increase the Bobcat’s lead, Captain Vecchio scored a goal that caused the opposing net minder to be pulled.
Before the period could end, Isaac Shannon was ejected from the game along with an opposing player, as well.
W&J tried their best to stay in the game as they scored an early goal in the third period to decrease their deficit to 6-4. However, their deficit would increase once more as Vecchio scored a shorthanded goal for his second of the night.
W&J would answer once more, this time while on the power play.
The score was 7-5, but Merz managed to sneak one past the opposing net minder to increase the lead for the Bobcats once more.
Ryan Joyce, wanting to get in on all of the action, scored a top-shelf goal of his own as Pitt-Greensburg pulled ahead, 9-5. Petrovay scored his second of the night immediately following, and was penalized for his swimming-down-the-ice celebration.
W&J would score one more late goal, but it was the Bobcats that were victorious in a game that managed to have three more penalties than they had the following night.
Backed by the play of Palonis, saving 39 of 45 shots and making 56 shots of their own, the Bobcats improved their record to 17-2-0 on the season.
Throughout the night, the Bobcats were constantly thriving with the energy of the crowd behind them. Billy Lesnak, Manager of the team and President of the Hockey Club, “would like to thank everyone who showed up to the game, especially Al Thiel and the Student Activities Board for funding the game. Without the university’s support, we’d be nothing.”
As for the skate that followed, Lesnak commented that “it was a huge success. We had about 150 students show up, which was the biggest crowd we have ever had at a regular season game.” He believes that “without the fans, we may not have been able to come out with a win.”
Following this successful weekend, the Bobcats travel to take on Bloomsburg University and Loyola University.