Grove City Weekend in the Books
by Vincent MatulaECRHA October 30th, 2019 at 7:02AM October 30th, 2019 12:03PM
The first weekend of ECRHA regular season play is in the books after a weekend full of excitement across all four divisions.
Division 1 Slippery Rock and Farmingdale began their best-of-five series this weekend which saw the Pride defeating the Rams by a score of 7-1. After leading Slippery Rock in scoring last season, Gannon Warrick picked up where he left off tallying two goals and an assist in the win. Slippery Rock was also able to handle Robert Morris by a score of 13-1 and Penn State with a 12-3 victory. In total, the Pride scored 32 goals in their weekend sweep getting at least one goal from every skater on their roster. Outside of everyone on their roster being able to contribute, another big reason for their success this weekend was how dangerous their power play was. Out of the ten opportunities they received, Slippery Rock was able to score nine times when being on the man advantage. The Pride will look to keep this momentum rolling when they go into Old Bethpage two weeks from now.
With one teams success comes another teams struggles. Just like in pre-season, Farmingdale’s top three scorers from last season of Corso, DiMartino and Halvorsen were not in attendance this weekend, but the Rams had to carry on without them. Outside of their 7-1 loss to Slippery Rock, Farmingdale also lost 7-4 to Robert Morris and 2-1 against Penn State. This marks the first time since November of 2013 that Farmingdale’s top team has been swept in a weekend. The defending Regional and National Champions of D1 will look to return to their winning ways when they return home to Old Bethpage.
Robert Morris was one of two teams that represented Division 2 in Grove City this past weekend, but provided two convincing victories in their three games played. Along with their 7-4 win against Farmingdale, the Colonials handled Penn State with a 8-0 shutout win. Their only loss came against Slippery Rock which wound up being a 12-3 defeat. Rookie Jack Clendaniel is currently leading the way for Robert Morris in scoring with 8 total points in the first three games of this young season. The Colonials get some time to rest with their upcoming games taking place in Export, PA later in November.
As mentioned before, Penn State was the other D2 team in attendance this weekend. Despite two blowout losses to Slippery Rock and Robert Morris, the Nittany Lions were able to salvage the weekend with a tight 2-1 victory against Farmingdale. Goaltender Domenic Passcucci came up huge for Penn State making 27 saves in their first win of the season. With only three goals scored on the weekend, the Nittany Lions will need to start putting the puck in the net more often if they want to make some noise this season. Penn State will get some time to work on their offense before they are back in action at Export, PA.
Two clubs that likely won’t have any trouble scoring goals this season are Oswego and Syracuse from Division 3. Both teams faced off on Saturday morning in a game which featured a total of 17 goals. The Syracuse Orange found themselves with a 4-1 lead halfway through the game and then a 7-4 lead with less than five minutes to play in regulation. Despite this, the Lakers of Oswego were unfazed by this deficit and scored four goals in those final five minutes. Oswego was able to force overtime and eventually win 9-8 in the extra five minute period. Oswego’s only other game of the weekend was against Drexel in which they were able to handle the Dragons with a 8-1 win. Believe it or not, neither Jack or Joe Tofallos is leading Oswego in scoring after their first weekend of play. For now, it’s Aidan Ryan and rookie Anthony Angelo who are Oswego’s two leading scorers. On the other side of the spectrum, the Syracuse Orange wouldn’t let this loss bother them as they cruised through the remainder of their games with a 10-1 victory over Cortland, a 13-6 win against Niagara and a forfeit win against Lock Haven. Rookie Blake Taub appears to be fitting right in with Marc Orlin, Anthony Bellman and the remainder of Syracuse’s high powered offense after recording 13 points three games played. Both these high scoring teams get this upcoming weekend off and will play their next games in Old Bethpage.
Although Cortland was blown away by Syracuse on Saturday, the Red Dragons were able to grab a 8-4 victory against Drexel later in the day and go an even 1-1 in their opening weekend. This meant that with two straight losses to start their season, Drexel would need some wins on Sunday to help their case in the standings. The Dragons were able to get two wins the easy way thanks to two forfeits against Lock Haven and Niagara and now sit with a 2-2 record. Speaking of Niagara and Lock Haven, neither team recorded a win on the weekend as Niagara had losses to Syracuse and D4 Farmingdale Green (non-conference) while the only game Lock Haven played during the weekend was a non-conference matchup against D4 Oswego. These two clubs are back to action in Export, PA later in November and will be looking for their first wins.
Just like their top team, Division 4 Slippery Rock completed a weekend sweep with victories over the remaining three teams that were in Grove City. In a rematch of the D4 Regional Championship last season, the Pride handled Farmingdale Green with a 7-4 victory. Rookie Matthew Vrankovich had a hat trick in the game and is currently leading the Pride in scoring with 11 points. Slippery Rock also had a 6-1 win against Oswego and a 16-0 defeat of Farmingdale Black. Slippery Rock even managed to score three shorthanded goals while preventing any power play goals in the seven times they were short handed.
While Slippery Rock swept it’s competition this past weekend, Farmingdale Black failed to record a win in their three games. Along with a forgettable 16-0 loss, Farmingdale Black fell to Farmingdale Green 7-4 and had their closest game of the weekend against Oswego’s D4 club with a 5-4 loss. Those wins for Farmingdale Green and Oswego were the only wins those clubs had on the weekend outside of their non-conference matchups. All of these D4 teams except Oswego will get their next taste of action in Old Bethpage.
Up next on the ECRHA schedule is a trip to Dracut, MA where we will see plenty of other teams in Division 2 and 3 begin their season.