DiMartino and company hold on to win DI ChampionshipApril 9th, 2017 at 11:20AM April 11th, 2017 4:53PM
By: Ian Prescott (NCRHA Coast 2 Coast)
Let’s set the scene for the DI National Championship game: On one side is Lindenwood, a team who, despite their lengthy pedigree, was looking to get back to their former glory. Lindenwood had never gone three consecutive years without winning a Championship. The Lions were led into the championship game by the trio of Adam Swims, Jalen Krogman and Trenton Matteson, who were looking to return the team to its spot on top of the NCRHA’s pinnacle. On the other hand there’s Farmingdale, a team who one year ago found themselves wondering what they needed to do to break into the top tier of championship contenders. Farmingdale was looking for their first NCRHA DI Championship and to be vaulted into NCRHA hockey royalty. Enter Matt O’Shaughnessy, PJ DiMartino, and Luc Corso, a triad of highly-skilled transfers who learned to win while contributing for ECRHA powerhouse Neumann University. This was expected to be an absolute gem of a Division I final.
The game did not disappoint.
The first period was evenly matched, the pace was one of two teams trying to feel the other out. 3 minutes and 28 seconds into the period Jonathan Krumholz attempted to keep pace with the Lindenwood attack and was called for holding. Ten seconds later Trenton Matteson launched a rocket over Dustin Muccio-Schrimpe’s shoulder and placed the Lions up 1-0. The Rams took a penalty and killed it off successfully midway through the first, a late rush with 20 seconds left caused the Lions’ Adam Swims to take down a Rams forward. The period would end 1-0 and the penalty time carried over into the second.
Shortly after the second period began Matthew O’Shaughnessy did yeoman's work on the power play and tied the game. The Lions then answered back 2 minutes later on a Matteson dagger, and there we stayed at 2-1 until Chris Russolello tied the game with about 2 minutes and 30 seconds left in the second period. Then, a pivotal moment happened. On the next faceoff after Russolello’s goal, a rugby-like scrum ensued off the draw and the puck somehow shot out of the circle right onto PJ DiMartino’s stick. From there he walked in on the Lions’ Paul Town after dangling past a defender at full speed. DiMartino went to his backhand and rifled the puck to the ceiling of the net. From there it became the DiMartino show as he scored a natural hat trick over the course of the second and third period and placed the Rams up 5-2. As time wound past the halfway mark the lead seemed insurmountable, then in a 1 minute span the Lions pushed on the forecheck, and got goals from Krogman and Rosse.
However, for the Lions the lead proved to be too much; and as the last seconds ran off the clock. The Farmingdale State College Rams were the NCRHA Division I National Champions. The emotions poured over for players like Tim Janke and Bobby Litras who were a part of the inaugural team who began in DII and won a National Championship just 3 years ago. They, along with the rest of the Rams, solidified their place in NCRHA history as just the 3rd time to do just that, win both a Division II and Division I championship. The Lions fought a valiant battle and represented the sport and their illustrious program well despite the setback, and we’re already looking forward to the prospect of both of these teams returning to do battle next year in DI.
The most amazing part of this is that this exciting game will be re-broadcast on National Television, on CBS Sports Network in just a few short weeks. There you can catch all the action in a primetime slot, and a later re-airing of the game. The time and date will be made available here on NCRHA.org as soon as they are released.