MIH: Gurska powers offense to dominant win over King’s

Xavier+Abdella+embraced+Phil+Erickson+after+the+Colonels%27+fourth+goal+of+the+second+period+against+King%27s%2C+increasing+Wilkes%27+lead+to+three+with+a+score+of+5-2.%0A

Kirsten Peters

Xavier Abdella embraced Phil Erickson after the Colonels' fourth goal of the second period against King's, increasing Wilkes' lead to three with a score of 5-2.

Ben Mandell, Co-Sports Editor

WILKES-BARRE, Pa — Another day, another win for Wilkes men’s ice hockey. This one came against King’s in blowout fashion, 9-3, helping the Colonels improve to 17-5-0 overall and 13-2-0 in United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) play.

Wilkes is also now 4-0-0 against the Monarchs in its first two seasons.

“Most nights it’s about us and what we do,” Wilkes coach Tyler Hynes said. “We didn’t play too well in the first period, but I’m really happy with how we turned things around and responded.”

The game was tied 1-1 after the first period. Danny Reidel opened up the scoring with a nifty move past a Monarch defender and flipped a shot towards the goal. Brandon Daigle got a piece of it in net for King’s, but it wasn’t enough, and the puck went in. Tyler Barrow and Michael Gurska picked up the assists.

Liam Johnson tied things up just over two minutes later with a goal on the power play. Alex Bastone made a Colonel defender miss in the slot and dent a puck towards the net. Johnson took the rebound and put it through the legs of Wilkes’ Michael Paterson-Jones.

The second period was a different story for Wilkes. They outshot the Monarchs 23-6 and outscored them 4-1 in the period, taking a 5-2 lead.

Nick Godfrey opened the second period with a shot in front of the net. Charlie Spetz took the puck in the corner and sent a perfect pass into the slot. Godfrey was able to beat Daigle cleanly to put the Colonels back on top. Phil Erickson grabbed the secondary assist on the play.

Nick Fea added back-to-back goals, seven minutes apart. The first came off a shot from the left wing.

“I came down on the wing, moving my feet and I saw he was cheating a little,” Fea said. “I saw the opening and took the shot and it went in.”

Donald Flynn and Paul Cimilluca had the assists on the goal.

Fea’s second goal came on a shot in the high slot. Dylan Kuipers had the lone assist on the goal after a good chunk of offensive zone time.

The Colonels were able to generate a lot of offensive zone time as the game went on using their forecheck and taking advantage of a short King’s bench that only had 13 skaters dressed.

Alex Acosta scored the next goal for King’s on a break-out. He raced down the ice and put a rebound past Paterson-Jones to cut the lead to 4-2.

Erickson answered less than a minute later, putting the Colonels back up by three. Devon Schell and Gurska picked up the assists.

“Scoring has never really been an issue for this team,” Hynes said. “It’s when we aren’t doing the other things that we run into trouble.”

Wilkes came out in the third period and scored three power play goals, two from Tyson Araujo and one from Barrow. Schell also added an even strength goal, allowing seven different Colonels to find the back of the net.

“We started off slow, but we came back and worked hard,” Araujo said. “We played Wilkes hockey and kept it simple.”

Tyler O’Mara added a power play goal for King’s. This goal came against Nico Pidro, who entered the game with under 10 minutes remaining.

The power play was a lone bright spot for the Monarchs, as they went 2-4 on the night.

Wilkes’ power play didn’t fall short either, scoring three goals on four power plays, all in the third period.

Even with the power play goals, the Colonels were able to get their offense rolling at even strength, something they have struggled with this season.

“(Scoring at even strength) is something we have been working on in practice for a while now,” Hynes said. “Our power play goals have covered up mistakes we have made in other areas, but tonight we were able to get it going.”

Paterson-Jones was in net for just over 51 minutes of the game and earned another win. He has the highest winning percentage in the entire country among qualified goalies, winning just under 93 percent of his starts.

Despite the Colonels scoring nine goals against King’s, the country’s top goal scorer Flynn was held to two assists.

Gurska stood out for Wilkes, playing well defensively and collecting four assists.

“We have a lot of guys with goals on their sticks,” Hynes said. “There is only so much ice and only one puck to go around, so they don’t always get to put the puck in the net. In a game like this, we needed guys to come through when it was tied 1-1.”

Wilkes returns to the ice for its final home game of the regular season on Friday against Neumann.

Danny Reidel finished a highligh-reel goal after deking past multiple Monarch defenders for the first goal of the game on Thursday night.