St. Vincent College Hockey: Game Recaps (2011-2012)

RMU Game 1202012
Saturday, January 21
Polar Bearcats Drop a Hard Fought Game to RMU 7-6

The Polar Bearcats, riding a 7 game winning streak,  hosted highly ranked Robert Morris University and the game as hard fought as expected.   The Polar Bearcats have been a transformed team from the beginning of the season and this game was another proof point of their ability to play with any team in the ACHA.  They also welcomed newcomer Jeffrey Donatelli to the team who played to impress and fit in perfectly with the core for his first game on the ice with the Polar Bearcats this season.   

St. Vincent started the game in an up tempo style and hit hard from the onset.   But the aggression gave Robert Morris two power plays and they converted on both.    The first power play happened off of an inadvertent collision between Dan Humes and the RMU net minder.  The RMU goalie skated well above the faceoff circle as Humes was racing for the puck. They collided and referee Zack Stout called a penalty on Humes.  The call was questionable at best as Stout gave Humes a 5 minute penalty. 

With the score 2-0 Tanner Master took a pass from Alex Mueller and scored on a wrist shot placed over the RMU goalies left shoulder.  Just 6 minutes later, Tanner Master collected his second goal of the game, and tied the game 2-2 when he accepted another pass from Alex Mueller and drove hard to the net fending off two RMU players.  Master then quickly backhanded a shot between the RMU net minders legs.   The line of Master, Mueller and Cody Ray proved to come up big for the Cats in the first period with both Mueller and Ray picking up assists on both of Tanner Masters goals. 

 With :19 seconds remaining in the first, a defensive breakdown occurred when RMU attacked the SVC zone.   As Mike Puskar saw RMU in transition, he headed back checked and as he caught the breakaway RMU player he was interfered with and could not make a play.   The uncalled play cost the Polar Bearcats and was a benefit to RMU who took a 3-2 lead into the second period.   St. Vincent outshot RMU 13-10.

RMU drew first blood in the 2nd, and took a 4-2, but again the Polar Bearcats answered with Alex Mueller.  As RMU cleared the puck, the SVC net minder Alex Sepesy hit DJ Beitel with a pass, Beitel drove to the net and found Mueller cutting hard to the goal.  Mueller sent a picture perfect back hander to the top shelf.  The score was now 4-3 and with RMU on yet another power play, they found the back of the net and jumped back to a 5-3 lead.  With St. Vincent killing their 7th penalty of the game, the duo of DJ Beitel and Mike Puskar worked some magic together and scored a shorthanded goal.  Beitel  laid a drop pass to Puskar, and as the pass was blocked it landed behind the net.  Puskar beat two RMU defenders to the puck and Puskar chipped the puck to DJ Beitel who made a nifty move in front of the net and slide the shot under the RMU goalies left arm.  Once again, the Polar Bearcats pulled to within 1 goal.  The standing room only  crowd was into the game and the SVC fans were rabid.   As the second period ended the score stood 5-4 and St. Vincent continued to out shoot RMU 26-19 despite playing shorthanded for a significant amount of time in the first two periods. 

As the final period started the Colonials scored just 2:54 into the period and took a 6-4 lead.  Just 5 minutes later, Jake Hendrick snapped a hard shot on net and an alert Cody Ray crashed the net and forehanded a laser shot into the net.  With the score 6-5 the Colonials bounced back at regained a two goal margin 7-5.   But the game was far from being over.  At the 5:54 mark, Ethan Ross moved the puck up ice to Alex Mueller he chipped the puck to a streaking Mike Puskar who moved quickly into the RMU zone. Puskar had two RMU defenders in front of him and got a wide side advantage over the RMU defenseman and perfectly placed a wrist shot over the left shoulder of the goalie.  It was a goal game 7-6 and the remaining 5 minutes of the game were back and forth but in the end, with Alex Sepesy pulled the Polar Bearcats had several good looks at the net but could not convert.

Game Notes:

As the game ended, SVC outshot RMU 37-34 and fell just one goal short of taking the game into overtime.  Alex Sepesy played another excellent game in net, making several outstanding saves and he picked up his first assist of the season.  If the Polar Bearcats would have a “do over” three areas of the game come to mind.  First,  we gave RMU too many power play chances.  Second, there were too many odd man breaks and third, the SVC power play has to convert.

The Cats are back in action tomorrow at 2:00 pm against UPJ. The game is at home in Delmont at Center Ice and they are facing another ACHA ranked team.   I am predicting a SVC win, as long as they come out and play with the focus and intensity that they did against RMU.  A sound win against UPJ will get them ranked by ACHA for sure and the way this team is playing, they deserve it!

Sunday, January 15
Polar Bearcats Pick Up Where they Left Off! Win 7 Straight!

The St. Vincent Polar Bearcats picked up where they left off. Their last game before break was against WVU and they played host to them today in Delmont and the outcome was the same.  The Polar Bearcats won the game 4-0 and started where they left off. 

Alex Sepesy was stellar in net, capturing his first shutout of the season with 15 saves.  The Cats outshot WVU 48-16 and cruised to the victory.  The score was knotted 0-0 at the end of one, but the ice was in favor of St. Vincent who outshot WVU 15-7.  In the second, WVU had a chance to draw first blood when a penalty shot was awarded to them, however, Sepesy stood tall in net and stopped the shooter.  The momentum swing allowed the Polar Bearcats to find the net first.  Mike Puskar lasered a pass in the neutral zone to DJ Beitel.  Beitel took the shot on net and it rebounded to a streaking Mario Siard who tickled the twine past the WVU netminder.  Just 50 seconds later, Dan Humes received a perfect pass from Brendan Guilday and the Humidor, in perfect form went forehand to back hand over the netminder's right shoulder.  After two, the score was 2-0 with St. Vincent outshooting WVU 17-5 in the second.

The final period opened with Sepesy making several great saves and with 15:43 remaining DJ Beitel put a shot on net and once again, Mario Siard was on the spot to take a back hander to the peanut butter shelf.  This was Siard's second goal of the game.  With 10:55 remaining the final goal was scored by Mike Puskar who fended off two WVU defensemen and moved with a quick back handed wrap around to sneaking one past the goalie.

The shutout was far from over and perhaps the save of the game was made by Sepesy with 8:55 remaining when he dove for a save and rejected an incoming shot with his laid out stick and body on the ice.  The Polar Bearcats out shot WVUH 48-15 on the game and notched their 7th straight win.

 St. Vincent resumes play on Friday at home against Robert Morris at 8:30 pm.

Friday, December 9
Polar Bearcats Looking for 6 In a Row Tonight Against WVU

The Polar Bearcats (7-4) will face off against the WVU Mountaineers (5-8) tonight at 10 PM in Morgantown at Morgantown Ice Arena.  The Polar Bearcats have been melting the ice as of late running off 5 straight wins with victories over Shippensburg University, Penn State Altoona (2 times), Penn State Behrend and Fredonia State. 

On the 5 game tear, DJ Beitel has led the Polar Bearcats with 6 goals and 5 assists to go along with his team leading 11 goals.  Captain Mike Puskar who returned from a concussion just 5 games ago is lighting up the lamp with 5 goals and 4 assists.  Sophomore standout, Cody Ray has collected 4 goals and 4 assists over the past 5 games and has been a consistent player all year for the Cats.  Tanner Master who missed a number of games last year with several injuries is back in full swing. The Junior forward has 7 points and 3 goals over the last 5 games.  Both Mario Siard and Alex Mueller have 6 points in the last 5 games and have been instrumental in the run.  On the blue line, defensemen Jake Hendrick and Brett Cox have been rock solid.  Hendrick has collected 5 assists and Cox 4 over the past 5 games, but they, along with the return of DK Kirchner have helped the Polar Bearcats sure up their defensive game.  Add in Ethan Ross who has come up big with some key helpers and a goal over the run and it has added up to success all the way around.

In net, it's been the trio of Andrew "Harv" Harvey, Curt Colaianne and Alex Sepesy. The trio has been steller in net with Sepesy leading the team with 3 wins, follow by Colaianne's 2.  Drew Harvey tops all netminders with a team leading top save percentage at .938 and best goal against at a mere 1.80.  Sepesy ranks tops with over 350 minutes played and second with a goals against of 3.80.   Colaianne had one of the most exciting wins this year over PSU Beherend when in the shootout he stopped 4 consecutive shooters to help the Polar Bearcats find their way to victory.

And let's not forget to give a nod to the coaching staff.  Head Coach Mike Ziemienski flanked by Brett Martz, Gino Ray and Larry Hendrick have all been pullng the right strings.

St. Vincent split with WVU in both of the past two seasons and lost a hearbreaker in Morgantown last year.  They led the game 4-2 and ended up losing in a shootout against the host Mountaineers.  This year will hopefully bring better luck to the Cats.

The Polar Bearcats keys to victory are simple.  Keep playing a team game, it's about wins, not scoring goals!  Keep your shifts short, don't get caught on the ice for long periods of time.  It was great to watch the Cats change nearly their entire powerplay line while in Penn States zone.  This unselfish play and attention to our coaches is essential.  Finally, stay out of the penalty box.  It's clear that if the Polar Bearcasts keep the game on even strength, they have the firepower, defense and goal tending to beat anyone in the league.

This is their last game before some down time from hockey and it's essential that they come out of Morgantown with a  win that will set them up for a 2nd half of the season that is a homestand nearly every weekend.

Master Shippensburg.jpg
Friday, December 2
Polar Bearcats Capture 5th Straight Victory with 7-5 Win Over Shippensburg

The Polar Bearcats traveled to Hershey PA to meet up against Shippensburg at Giant Arena.  The game was a homecoming for Nick Porzucek and Alan Wolfe. Junior defenseman Nick Porzucek is a native of Hershey while Senior forward Alan Wolfe is a native of Lebanon PA.  Not only was their a homecoming, but St. Vincent welcomed the return of Dan Humes and DK Kirschner.  The Polar Bearcats have played 6 games without the serices of Humes and Kirschner has missed the last two games.  By the end of the night, the Polar Bearcats gave host Shippensburg and their local fans another strong performance.

St Vincent jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead when DJ. Beitel scored off of a Mario Siard pass at center ice.  This was followed just 4 minutes later on the Power Play when Jake Hendrick found Ethan Ross at the point. Ross took a slap shot that Tanner Master redirected between his legs and over the netminders left shoulder. The game quicky found the Cats up 2-0, but Shippensburg rallied and tied the game 2-2 at the end of the first.  The Polar Bearcats outshot the host team 15-10.

As the second period started Shippensburg scored to take a 3-2 lead, but Mike Puskar scored on an unassisted wrist shot.  He used the defender to hide his shot that defleceted off of the goalies right shoulder and into the net.  The period ended 4-3 as Shippensburg bounced back to take the lead again.  Shots on net were in favor of St. Vincent 13 -6.

The final period saw the Polar Bearcats increase their intensity and focus.  They entered the final period down a man with Dan Humes and Ethan Ross in the box follow a late 2nd period scrum in front of the Shippensburg net.  Cody Ray scored on a second Ethan Ross shot. Ray deflected the puck perfectly past the netminder and the game was all tied.  Just :56 seconds later Tanner Master picked up his second goal of the game when Cody Ray found him in the slot.  Mueller also assisted on the goal.  With the Polar Cats up 5-3, the host team scored to pull the game to 5-4.  Mario Siard helped St. Vincent to maintain the two goal edge when Mike Puskar outworked three Shippensburg players behind the net and chipped the puck to Siard who placed a perfect shot over the netminders soulder.  The game ended 7-5 when hometown local, Alan Wolfe accepted a pass from Dan Humes who won a key battle on the boards and from one knee hit Wolfe with a perfect pass.  Wolfe took the 5 hole and put the Cats 7th goal in the net. 

Curt Colaianne picked up his 2nd win of the season and the Polar Bearcats again outshot their oppenent. The final was 43-22 in favor of the Polar Bearcats.

Sunday, November 20
The Polar Bearcats Win Fourth Straight but Face a Big Challege against Penn State Altoona

The Polar Bearcats won the game 6-3, out shot their opponents 59 - 23 yet the game remained tight through two complete periods thanks to some unbelievable goal tending from the PSU team.  But as in most games, the frenetic pace that the Bearcats pushed and their team play helped them to break the door open in the third period and walk out of their barn with a 6-3 victory. 

The first period was played mainly in the Altoona zone with the Polar Bearcats dictating play and amassing 23 shots to Penn State Altoona's 4.  Tanner Master found the net from a pass from Cody Ray and the Cats jumped out to a 1-0 lead but the first period ended in a 1-1 deadlock.

In the second it was the Alex Mueller show.  Mueller helped the Bearcats grab the lead on a shorthanded goal then 4 minutes later he scored again on the powerplay off of a Jake Hendrick and Cody Ray assist.  Again the Bearcats outshot their opponent 22-6.  The Polar Bearcats carried a 3-2 lead into the final period.

Penn State scored on a powerplay in the 3rd to tie the game at 3 each and the Bearcats found themselves down to a 5-3 midway through the 3rd.  They killed the 1:45 5 on 3 and quickly took the momentum back.  It was Mike Puskar who scored two times in 5:32 that put the game out of reach.  Puskar took a pass from DJ Beitel  and beat the netminder blocker side and then he again beat the goalie blocker side when Mario Siard and DJ Beitel layed a pass to him in front of the crease.  DJ Beitel ended the scoring when he drifted across the circles and released a snap shot across his body beating the netminder on the blocker side.

Alex Sepesy picked up his 3rd win stopping 20 of 23 shots on net.

Sunday, November 20
Polar Bearcats Shoot for Four in a Row Today

The Polar Bearcats host Penn State Altoona and have their sights focused on keeping the run alive.  They knocked off Altoona 8-3 two weeks ago and come into the game with a 5-4 record.   Today the Polar Bearcats lead the CHE South Devision and a win today will bring them to .500 (4-4) in CHE play. 

The keys to a victory today are simple.  First, a quick start is needed.  The Polar Bearcats have been a slow starting team and a fast start is an imporant key to victory.  The second is a keeping the game 5 on 5.  Stay out of the penalty box.  Too many foolish penalties have put an undue burden on the netminders for St. Vincent.  Alex Sepsey, Curt Colaianne and Drew Harvey have all stood tall between the pipes, but keeping the game 5 on 5 is the second key to success.  Lastly, be patient.  Let the flow of the game to us, don't press when it's not needed, be patient, work as a team, don't make uncecesary rushes and find the open player. 

Today's tip off is slated for 2:20 pm at Delomt.  The attendance and support for the team at  home games has been impressive and we expect another nice crowd watching the Polar Bearcats going for four in a row.

Friday, November 18
Polar Bearcats Pick up 3rd Straight Win with 6-5 OT Shootout Victory Over PSU Behrend

Curt Colainne stops the final PSU shooter in shootout

The drive was over 2.5 hours and the Polar Bearcats played like they were all travel weary.  Facing off in Erie against  1-8 PSU Behrend at 10 pm was the challenge that stood in front of the Polar Bearcats and their 3rd win.  Penn State Behrend was coming off of their first win and came into the game with a confidence boost and played the Cats as far and and as tight as they could.

St. Vincent trailed 1-0 at the end of the first period. Curt Colainne was a beast in net, keeping the team in the game during the first period.

As the game wore on St. Vincent got their legs and found a way to win in an exciting overtime shootout against host PSU Behrend. 

The team collected goals from Cody Ray, DJ Beitel, Adam Ziemianski, Ethan Ross and Alex Meuller.  While helpers were provided by Tanner Master (2), Jake Hendrick (2), Brett Cox (2), Alex. Mueller (1) and Mike Puskar (1).

As the game headed into overtime the Polar Bearcats had to kill a penalty and once again, Curt Colainne stood strong.  As the shootout started, Colainne stoned 4 of 5 PSU shooters.  With PSU having scored one goal, it came down to Mike Puskar for St. Vincent.  Puskar came through takeing a forehand shot to the glove side of the PSU netminder.  Colainne stopped the next 3 shooters and with the shootout tied 1-1 Alex Mueller took center stage.  Mueller managed a nifty forehand to backhand move and netted the game winner.

This was 3 in a row for the Polar Bearcats and they will try for number four on Sunday at 2:20 against PSU Altoona.

DJ Beitel
Sunday, November 13
Polar Bearcats pick up 2 huge CHE wins over weekend..

After coming off a loss against Robert Morris, the team traveled to Altoona to take on Penn State Altoona in a late Friday afternoon showdown. The team once again would battle 1st period slow starts and fall behind 2-1 after 1 with a goal from DJ Beitel. The 2nd period would fare much better as Captain Mike Puskar had a big shorthanded goal to even the game up at 2. Despite taking numerous peanlties the team would go ahead 3-2 after Tanner Master slammed home a rebound shot from Alex Mueller. The Polar Bearcats would pull away in the 3rd and never look back after Brendan Guilday would plot one on a breakaway. Goals followed from Cody Ray and David Kirchner with DJ Beitel ending the scoring with a highlight reel goal to put the game away at 8-3. Goaltender Drew Harvey made his first start of the year and picked up the win making 40 saves.

Sunday would be the true test for the team as they had a rematch against Fredonia State who they dropped a 7-5 decision to earlier in the year. Once again, the Bearcats suffered a slow first period start falling behind 1-0 after giving up a shorthanded goal. Playing evenly matched throughout most of the 2nd, DJ Beitel broke the game open with a goal late in the 2nd. Mintues later DJ would strike again on the powerplay when he walked across the slot and buried a shot 5-hole beating the Fredonia goaltender. Leading 2-1 in the 3rd the team picked up a vital goal with a beautiful play from Tanner Master and Cody Ray. The 2 setup a pefect give and go in the corner with Cody Ray receiving the pass and beating the goaltender short side. Fredonia would make it close with a powerplay goal late in the game but the team would hold off a late charge and hang on for the win. Alex Sepesy picked up the win in goal with 28 saves.

Sunday, October 30
Under heavy hearts, Polar Bearcats pull off huge upset in Philadelphia...
Matt Wittman 1991-2011

After a tough start aginst strong teams, the Polar Bearcasts traveled to Philadelphia to take on undefeated 6-0 Neumann University. Earlier in the week, tragedy struck the team as former Polar Bearcat from last season Matthew Wittman passed away unexpectedy. With a tough school week behind them, the team braved the early season snow to Eastern PA for an afternoon start. St. Vincent originally planned to play ESU a day before but weather cancelled the game.

After playing even throughout most the 1st period, the team gave up a late goal in the period to trail 1-0 after 1. Midway through the 2nd period DJ Beitel evened the score up with a backhand shot from high in the slot beating the Neumann goaltender. Minutes later Tanner Master placed a perfect shot on the ice to give the Polar Bearcats a 2-1 lead. Neumann would even the score on freaky goal off a faceoff play that sent both teams into the 3rd period tied 2-2. St. Vincent surrendered a goal midway through 3rd to go down 3-2 but they never gave up. Dan Humes drew a penalty with 7 minutes remaining and Ethan Ross cashed in with a powerplay goal from a rebound shot. Minutes later Humes would draw another penalty to put the Polar Bearcats back on the powerplay. With 3 minutes remaining, Alex Mueller slams home the rebound to put up the team up for good. Alex Sepesy picks up his first career win in net as a strong performance. 

Next week the team travels to Moon Twp to take on another tough opponent in Robert Morris.