MIH: Wilkes home opener


Kirsten Peters

Freshman forward Donald Flynn scores the second goal against Stevenson on Frida night to put the Colonels ahead 2-1.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — The Toyota Sportsplex was filled up Friday night to see the Wilkes University men’s ice hockey team play at home for the first time. The Colonels picked up multiple firsts for their program, as the beat Sevenson 4-2 for their first home win and MAC & UCHC conference win.

The Colonels wasted no time creating opportunities off the opening faceoff, Michael Gurska got things started for the Colonels but was unable to find the back of the net.

Stevenson was able to gain some momentum back after the initial surge from the Colonels.

Colonel netminder Brandon Gordon denied Stevenson’s Aaron Murray on their first shot which looked to be marked for the back for the net.

With just under fourteen minutes in the first period, persistence paid off as Tyler Barrow was able to give Wilkes the lead in the first period.

“It was a faceoff off the left side, I won it back to Wade Novak and he came around the back of the net and tried to stuff it in,” Barrow said. “I came around the top, there was a bunch of traffic around net and I came around the top and just let one rip on net.”

Shortly after the Colonels first goal, Stevenson went on the power play but was unable to capitalize.

Both Stevenson and the Wilkes had several opportunities as both teams were battling back and forth on both ends of the ice.

Stevenson went on the penalty kill once again and fended off the Colonels power play.

Shortly after the Colonel’s power play was over, the Mustang’s Carl Lyden got the puck past Gordon, tying the game 1-1.

The Colonels responded with sustained offensive pressure against Stevenson. Wilkes had five shots in just a matter minutes.

Finally, the Colonels attack became too much for the Mustangs and Donald Flynn put the Colonels back into the lead, 2-1.

“It started in the defensive zone, we got the puck out really well, it was a quick three on two rush and I was able to throw it over to Nick Fea and he was able to find me on the back door,” Flynn said.”It was all Fea on that, I was just going to the net with my stick down. It was a good team goal and a good line goal.”

Wilkes wasted no time taking advantage of the Stevenson defense as Jivan Sidhu found the back of the net seconds after Flynn’s goal, extending the lead for the Colonels 3-1.

The Colonels carried this 3-1 lead into the first intermission.

The physicality ramped up in the second and third period, as both teams went on and off the power play and penalty kill.

None of these chances for both teams turned into goals.

After, the second period, the Colonels still led Stevenson 3-1.

The third period saw most of the same back and forth action.

The Colonels seemingly had the game won going into the later stages of the third period, but Stevenson did not go away easy.

With time winding down in the third period, Stevenson pulled their goalie and brought on an extra attacker.

This proved to be effective for the Mustangs, as time was expiring, Christian Ripley was able to get the puck by goalie Gordon, cutting the Stevenson deficit 3-2.

The Stevenson net remained empty on the ensuing face-off as the still trailed, and the Colonels were able to get the puck into the empty net.

Tyson Araujo got the puck into the back of the net, putting the Colonels up 4-2 with just a few seconds remaining.

Time expired and the Colonels got their first ever home victory, and coach Riley could not have been happier.

“This win means a lot to the program as a whole, to have the school here, for President Leahy to our athletic director and associate athletic director, coaches, sports teams, the band… it means everything to all of us, for everyone who’s helped build this program, we couldn’t be more appreciative and that wins for them,” said Riley.

The happiness of the players coming off the ice after the game said a lot in regards to the team getting their first win at home and what it means to them.

“It sets the tone for the rest of our program, obviously being a first-year team and getting a win on the first opening night is big and not only for us but for the whole school… a lot of pride in this building tonight it was big to get the W for them,” said Flynn.

With this win, the Colonels improve to 2-2 on the season, and 1-1 in conference play.