Soaring Eagles top Seahawks

Soaring Eagles top Seahawks

PINE VALLEY, N.Y. -- The surging play of the Elmira College men's ice hockey team continued tonight at the Murray Athletic Center, as the Soaring Eagles upended No. 13/14 nationally-ranked Salve Regina University by a 5-2 final score. Elmira never trailed at any point of tonight's contest, helping the Purple and Gold secure their first nationally-ranked win of the season.
 
Kenny Tencza '19 opened the game's scoring with his third goal of the season at the 16:14 mark, one of two Soaring Eagle tallies in a 52-second span. Eddie Nolan '17 began the scoring play with a pass out of the Elmira d-zone that found Tyler Theodoulou'18 near center ice. Theodoulou carried the puck along the boards, before whipping a pass into the slot to Tencza, who rifled a wrist shot over the shoulder of Salve's Blake Wojtala for the score.
 
Rookie standout Connor Powell '20 made it a 2-0 Soaring Eagle lead less than one minute later at the 17:06 mark. After an offensive-zone faceoff win by Matthew Cuce '20, Powell collected the puck at the right faceoff dot, before taking a shot that was initially blocked by a Seahawk defender. However, Powell gathered the rebound and slid a shot through traffic and beat Wojtala, who was screened on the play, for EC's second goal of the night.
 
Elmira's 2-0 lead would hold up through the end of the first period, but Salve responded with two quick tallies of its own in the opening minutes of the second stanza. Connor Bechtel and Jonathan Felteau found the back of the cage for the Seahawks at the 3:37 and 4:48 marks, knotting the game at 2-2.
 
Nearly eight minutes would pass before Elmira reclaimed its lead, as Nolan scored his second goal of the season. Nolan intercepted an errant pass by a Seahawk defender at EC's blue line, before carrying the puck through the neutral zone and into Salve's half of the ice. The senior captain would beat one Seahawk defenseman, before beating Wojtala low on the blocker side for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal.
 
Nolan's score stood as the final goal of the second period, giving the Soaring Eagles a one-goal advantage with a full period of hockey to play.
 
Tonight's win did not come easy for Elmira, as the EC men had to fend off a pair of Seahawk power plays midway through the period. However, Elmira's penalty killers were up for the challenge, denying Salve on its two extra-skater chances in the period; EC ended the game a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
 
Elmira's special teams continued to excel, this time on the power play, late in the third. After a tripping call on Salve's Chase Hatcher, Theodoulou scored his second power-play goal in as many days, giving EC a two-goal cushion. The scoring play began with a shot from Powell at the point, whose attempt was deflected by Cuce in the crease. Cuce's tip found Theodoulou unmarked at the far-side post, where he punched it in for his fifth power-play score of the season.
 
With the game coming to a close, Salve opted to pull its goalie in hopes of cutting the Soaring Eagle lead to one. However, the call backfired, as Mitch Atkins '19 scored on the empty net with 51 seconds left in regulation to seal EC's 5-2 victory. Powell was credited with an assist on the empty-net goal, giving the freshman sensation three points on the night.