NYU Wins 2017 SECHL Title, Defeats William Paterson 2-1

NYU prevails 2-1 in SECHL final despite strong closing minute push from WPU.


John Fiorino

First period action as skaters chase the puck in the William Paterson defensive zone. Left to right: Ryan Melvin, Edmund Coxe, and NYU captain Steve Esposito

John Fiorino, Entertainment Editor

The William Paterson Pioneers Men’s Ice Hockey Team lost to New York University 2-1 on Feb. 19. In typical SECHL playoff fashion goaltending and defense proved as the deciding factor in the battle between the Pioneers and Violets.

Perhaps the biggest save of the night came in the first period as NYU goaltender, freshman, Adam Salisbury, was put to the test against senior, Edmund Coxe as a pass from behind the net landed on Coxe’s stick a mere foot from Salisbury. Coxe let it rip from point blank range, however it was met by a quick, cat-like reflex pad save. The Pioneers were left in shock as they remained scoreless in the early stages of the game.

No doubt, Salisbury’s jaw dropping save is one to remember from his youthful career. William Paterson forward, junior, Daniel Sabato, could not say or do anything more than congratulate the young goalie.

“He was awesome, I told him like three different times,” Sabato said. “I couldn’t believe the stops he was making.”

Coming off of a shutout win by senior, Gary Schoeppler, in the semifinals against RPI Saturday night, the Pioneers were ready to come out strong against NYU. For the most part, the Pioneers did just that, having controlled the majority of the neutral zone play in the opening five minutes.  The Pioneers crisp passes and quick decision making led to shots from all different angles in the offensive zone.

On the other end of the ice, William Paterson goaltender, junior, Jordan Hulahan, was forced to make saves from shots along the boards as well as along the blueline. Hulahan surrendered one goal on a breakaway midway through the first period, scored by NYU forward, junior, Michael Conslato. After Conslato’s tally, Hulahan would only surrender one goal for the remainder of the night.

Despite falling short on his efforts, Sabato made sure to give credit where credit is due. Goaltending is not an easy task, and Sabato made sure to praise Hulahan for his strong play throughout the game.

“Hulahan was awesome, you can’t ask for anything more,” Sabato said. “He made some timely saves through traffic and you can’t put a price on a goalie who makes that save when you need it.”

The second NYU goal came on a controversial powerplay with one minute to go in the second period. After officials appeared  to have missed multiple calls and “letting the teams play “for the majority of the second period, fans were in an uproar when the Pioneers were penalized with a tripping call in the last minute and a half.

William Paterson did all they could to muster a full head of steam after the late goal. Despite testing Salisbury all night long, he stood tall and William Paterson could not solve him until the last minute. Pioneers forward, freshman, Thomas Bauer, scored on a sharp angle shot along the boards to cut the deficit in half with a minute to go. Despite pulling Hulahan for the extra skater, the Pioneers would fall 2-1 to NYU in a very emotional game.

In order for the emotions in this rivalry to not overwhelm either team, both had to stick to their game plans. NYU’s sound defensive positioning gave William Paterson fits all day resulting in only one goal, despite a total of 53 shots. Pioneers assistant coach, Kyle Garlasco, gives NYU credit by playing a physical game where every inch is worked for.

“They locked it down, played hard in front of the net, and they’re going to make you work for anything you get,” Garlasco said.

With the SECHL playoffs behind them, the Pioneers are looking forward to the ACHA 2017 Nationals tournament in Columbus, Ohio on March 15-19. The Pioneers will hold the #1 seed in the Northeast Region during the tournament and will start play on March 15. The rules of the tournament is single elimination, so going forward it is win or go home of the Pioneers.

Garlasco also went on to explain how the team would prepare for Nationals while recognizing the style of play that awaits them in Columbus.

“The next couple of weeks we’re going to be practicing and just preparing for the energy and working towards what we know will be a battle out there,” Garlasco said.

William Paterson forward, junior, Allen West said that the team overall “just has to keep fighting.” He believes that this team’s key to success is in the effort level and everyone playing up to their potential. Other than that, he and the rest of the Pioneers are confident in their play, their locker room mentality, and their on the ice performance.

“Everyone’s got to play their level, play their game, that’s all,” West said.

West and the rest of the Pioneers are well aware of what is expected from them for the remainder of this season.

With all of their remaining games coming against  nothing but the best of what the Northeast Region has to offer, West says that the team’s mentality is simple.

“Win,” West said. “We have to go in and win, win and win.”