They say good things come to those
that wait. If that is the case then Montclair has waited more
than five years to reap the benefits of Friday night.
The Red Hawks took the ice on Friday night underdogs, to say the least. In the last fifteen meetings between William Paterson and Montclair, the Red Hawks have fallen to the Pioneers, including once in the Super East finals a mere two seasons ago. On top of the psychological effects of being dominated for so long by a single team, the Pioneers came into the Ice Vault with a perfect 9-0 record.
As the first period began both teams tried to establish themselves right off the drop. The Red Hawks focused on playing a defensive game by blocking shots and minimizing passing lanes in order to shut down the high-powered offensive attack of WPU. "It's been our mark since Frank (Barone) and I have started coaching here, we preach a defensive style and try to capitalize on our opponents mistakes", said coach Martinez. With both teams playing their respective style, it made for an entertaining first period. Teams exchanged chances, with the better of the chances going to William Paterson early on. Kevin Fox turned away a few significant opportunities within the first five minutes, including 6 shots on a Pioneer power play just before the mid point of the period. Montclair State would strike first late in the first period when junior Ken Renae converted a rebound into a 1-0 lead. "We saw the play develop off of a turnover down low, and we shot and went to the net. Simple hockey".
The Red Hawks came out in the second period trying to push the pace even further by chipping pucks deep in the Pioneer zone and playing physical down low. Montclair State executed just that, and drew a penalty early on in the second period. Tom Lindquist would fire a low shot towards the front of the net on the ensuing power play, and freshman Joe Redmon would tip the puck past Pioneer net minder Chris Bauer to take a 2-0 lead. "It was exactly what we've been trying to do all year", Frank Barone said. "Tommy's shot was perfect and couldn't have been timed better". Montclair State would strike again when Cody Inglis crossed the blue line and fed Lindquist again who snapped a quick wrist shot past Bauer. However the celebration would be short lived as the Pioneers would convert a great individual effort by Shawn McTigue to close the gap and make it 3-1. "Shawn is a great player, and needs to be minded every time he's on the ice. We let our guard down and he took full advantage, as good players will", Martinez said. The Red Hawks would respond promptly to the WPU tally by putting their 13th shot, a slow dribbler, past the rattled WPU goaltender. Abaunza's goal would prompt a goaltending change for the Pioneers, and mark a 4-1 lead at the end of the second period for Montclair State.
"Good teams do not lay down, and no lead is safe against this team". The Pioneers would come out flying in the third and Chris Wynne would net a goal cutting the Red Hawk lead in half. "The puck hit traffic on the way in, they were hungry and went to the net hard, that was the result". Montclair State would continue to block shots and pay the physical price to turn away the Pioneer advances. The breaking point for WPU came late, when freshman Albert Abaunza had a breakaway and a William Paterson defenseman had no choice but to take a penalty to nullify the scoring opportunity. However, the initial trip had a ten-minute misconduct added to it because of an extra crosscheck. WPU chose to put another defenseman in the box to serve the initial two minutes and the Red Hawks took full advantage when Cody Inglis converted an Abaunza pass from across the goal mouth to take a 5-2 lead. Abaunza would add an inconsequential goal to widen the lead in the final minutes of the game.
"This was a big game for us headed into November. I hope we can continue to play this way and add some consistency down the stretch." Goaltender Kevin Fox made 32 saves and freshman Albert Abaunza led all Red Hawks with 2 goals and 2 assists. The second contest between these two teams was snowed out on Saturday; no date has yet been set for that make up game.