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Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association

Moving on from Sewell

by Vincent Matula

ECRHA  January 28th, 2020 at 3:17PM  January 28th, 2020 9:17PM

The festivities in Sewell, NJ have ended as teams across the ECRHA will begin their final push towards the postseason.


In Division 2, Stony Brook University needed a big weekend after going winless during the first semester. The Seawolves delivered and won each of their three games against Rowan, Robert Morris and RIT. They closed out the weekend with a 7-4 win against RIT after falling to them earlier this season. Stony Brook scored more goals this past weekend (25) than they did during their first six games of the season (21). Dan Mallon was Stony Brook’s top scorer as he recorded at least three points in each game for a total of 11 points (seven goals and four assists). Their big weekend puts them one point behind fifth place West Chester. Stony Brook gets right back to business this upcoming weekend in Dracut, MA.


Although RIT fell against Stony Brook to end their weekend, the Tigers won their previous two games. Down 4-1 to Robert Morris, Rochester IT completed the comeback with a 6-5 overtime victory. It’s the first time in three meetings this season that RIT has beaten Robert Morris. Each of these three games have been within a two goal margin with both clubs grabbing a regular season victory. Rochester’s other win of the weekend came against West Chester where Cody Zajaczkowski and Brendan Solinski each scored hat tricks leading to a 6-4 victory. Both players had three points in the two victories and finished with eight points in three games.


Along with an overtime loss against RIT, Robert Morris also found themselves on the wrong side of a 5-4 score against Stony Brook for their second loss of the weekend. The Colonials suffered just two losses during their first semester of play. On the plus side, they won their remaining two games against West Chester and Rowan. Rookie Jack Clendaniel leads Bobby Mo with 21 goals and has now taken over the D2 lead in power play goals with nine. Despite currently sitting in first place, the Colonials are also the most penalized team in D2 with 144 penalty minutes through 13 regular season games. With 35 shorthanded opportunities in those games, their penalty kill sits just under 50%. For Robert Morris, staying out of the box is crucial for their success down the stretch.


After dropping two tight games against Robert Morris and RIT, The Golden Rams of West Chester were able to salvage their weekend with a 8-2 win over Rowan. It’s the second time this season that West Chester has beaten Rowan. With Stony Brook and Penn State right behind them, the Golden Rams will need a big final weekend to close out their regular season and remain apart of the playoff conversation. As for Rowan, it was another weekend to forget as the Profs lost all three games against Stony Brook, Robert Morris and West Chester. Their group remains winless and the quest towards playoffs is most likely gone with one final weekend to play before their season is over.


There’s a new first place team in Division 3 and that would be Temple University. The Owls opened their weekend in a big way by knocking off undefeated Neumann in a 9-2 win which featured a seven point game by Nicholas Grillo. With 12 points on the weekend, Grillo has surpassed all of his scoring totals from last season. There was not much time to celebrate as Temple fell 7-4 to Drexel on Saturday night. Sitting at 1-1 on the weekend, Temple weathered the storm of four bench minor penalties and two separate multi-goal deficits against Montclair State on Sunday morning to grab a 7-6 win. Goaltender Cody Baldwin remains the top goaltender in GAA spotting a 2.31.


Things did not get better for Neumann University after they lost for the first time this regular season. A 3-1 Knights lead vanished as Neumann lost their second game of the day to Drexel by a final of 7-6. Without top scorer Michael Strofe for their non-conference game against D4 Slippery Rock, Neumann’s struggles would continue as the team fell by a count of 11-2. They were able to respond in a big way during their early Sunday morning contest against Yeshiva with a 12-1 win which saw the aforementioned Strofe put up nine points. The fifth year players is now up to 89 points thanks to the seven goals and seven assists he tallied over the weekend. With the All Star event remaining, Strofe could become the first player in ECRHA history to have 100 regular season points before the playoffs begin.


The only blemish that Drexel University endured in their slate of four games was a 5-3 loss to Montclair State. Wins against Neumann, Temple and Yeshiva give the Dragons a total of 20 points on the season as the team moves into second place. Michael Leininger and John Gattone each put up nine points in four games as both players now have three game-winning goals on the season. Leininger scored game-winning goals against Neumann and Temple while Gattone tallied the winner over Yeshiva. Gattone has also matched his point total from last season (30) in which he was named Rookie of the Year in D3.


How about the new guys? In their inaugural season, Montclair State continues to turn heads as they took home three victories against Drexel, D4 Stony Brook (non conference) and Yeshiva. With 16 points to their name, the Red Hawks are now fifth place in a tightly packed D3. In each of their three wins, David Dziezawiec earned the first star and now leads his team in assists (28) and points (54). He trails only Tom Dunn of Neumann for the most points by a rookie this season (59). Similar to Michael Strofe of Neumann, Dziezawiec also recorded five goals and four assists against Yeshiva. Teammate Ty Pezzolla leads the team with 34 goals and is also the most goals by a rookie. Those 34 goals by Pezzolla are the second most in D3 trailing only Strofe (40). Yeshiva University failed to gather a win this weekend as losses came against Neumann, Drexel and Montclair. They’ve now lost eight of their last nine regular season games and will look to stay afloat the playoff race in a tightly packed division.


By the time Sunday came, all three Division 4 teams had concluded their games in Sewell. To no surprise, Slippery Rock dominated their competition with running clock wins against Northeastern, Neumann (non-conference) and Stony Brook. Evan Gill leads his club as well as the entire division with 23 goals and 43 total points. Now at 113 goals this season, the Pride have surpassed their total of 110 goals scored from last season with All-Star weekend left to play. Northeastern University was able to grab a 4-3 win over Stony Brook as Page Lootsma recorded a point on all but one of the seven goals scored by the Huskies. The D4 Seawolves of Stony Brook could not put together a win as they remain in fourth place. Both clubs have an important weekend coming up in Dracut, MA which is where the second half of the ECRHA season will continue.


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