Maine Hockey Journal

Southern Maine prevails over Wesleyan

Middletown, Conn. — The University of Southern Maine men’s ice hockey team scored three times in the second period to erase a 1-0 deficit and held on to defeat Wesleyan University, 3-2, Saturday afternoon in an ECAC East-NESCAC inter-league game at Middletown, Conn.

Southern Maine upped its record to 6-6 overall, 4-3 in conference play while Wesleyan slipped to 1-9 overall, 1-5 in league action. With the win, Southern Maine evened the all-time series with Wesleyan at 6-6-2.

Sophomore Jon Rutt (Scarborough, Maine) evened the count at 1-1 just 48 seconds into the middle stanza, as he collared the rebound of a shot by senior Dan Gordon (Lynnfield, Mass.) from the slot which was stopped by the pad of Wesleyan senior goalie Mike Palladino (Litchfield, Conn.). The puck went to Rutt on the left side and he found an open net to fire upon as Palladino was unable to recover.

Southern Maine went ahead for good at 6:57 on a great individual effort by sophomore Zach Joy (Dover, N.H.) as he took over team goal-scoring leadership with his eighth tally of the season. A pass toward the Wesleyan blue line was deflected by a Cardinal defender, but the puck went high in the air and continued into the Wesleyan zone where Joy collected it and skated in alone, beating Palladino through his pads for the 2-1 lead.

Freshman Dan Rautenberg (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) provided what proved to be the game-winner at 16:51, receiving a pass from the right side by sophomore Paul Conter (Woodbridge, Ontario) and snapping off a high shot from the left circle for his fifth goal of the year. Gordon also got an assist as he improved his seasonal scoring figure to a team-best 21 points (7-14-21).

Wesleyan scored first with a power-play goal at 9:46 of the first period as junior Jeff Beck (Warrington, Pa.) poked in a loose puck after an initial shot by freshman Geoff Mucha (West Chester, Pa.).

The pair turned around the scoring for the next Wesleyan goal, also on the power-play, at 12;22 of the third period. Beck got the puck to Mucha at the left point. From there, Mucha fired in a slap shot that Huskies freshman keeper Koray Celik (Ile-bizzard, Quebec) got a stick on but couldn’t control. Wesleyan pulled Palladino for the final 1:30 but couldn’t get a dangerous shot on goal despite a Huskies penalty with 23 seconds left that allowed the Cardinals to skate with a two-man advantage.

Celik ended the game with 23 saves. Palladino turned aside 24 shots before being lifted.

Southern Maine returns home on Tuesday (7:00 p.m.) to play Suffolk University in its final non-conference game of the season. Wesleyan will travel on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) to in-state rival Trinity College.

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