By Gina de Haan
COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Wednesday night, the Calvin men's hockey team took on the Colorado State Rams in its second pool play game of the 2017 ACHA Division III National Championships.
In the first pool play game on Tuesday night, the top-seeded Knights claimed a decisive 10-1 win over University of South Florida, while CSU defeated Farmingdale State College 4-2.
"The boys played great," said head men's hockey coach Mike Petrusma. "We had another disciplined effort. Colorado State struggled against our forecheck, and we were efficient with our breakouts tonight."
Calvin got on the board less than a minute into the game and never let up, rolling to a 5-0 victory over the Rams.
The Knights were buzzing early in the first period and took a quick lead when freshman Austin Huizenga (Grand Rapids, Mich./ Listowel Cyclones GOJHL) scored 56 seconds in. Sophomore Keegan Weckesser (East Lansing, Mich./Lansing Capitals NAPHL) picked up the assist on Huizenga's goal.
As the midpoint of the first period approached, CSU's offense began to pressure, but Calvin goaltender Alex Gross (Fort Worth, Texas/Northern Cyclones EHL) came up with back-to-back saves to ward off a tying goal.
With 8:08 left in first period, senior Ryan Betts (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) found the back of the net on a second-chance opportunity created by Jordan Duncan (Oshawa, Ont./Oshawa Generals ETAHL), giving the Knights a 2-0 advantage heading into the first intermission. Duncan leads the Knights with five assists in the national tournament.
The Knights continued to roll in the second period. 4:38 in, Weckesser won a faceoff in the Rams' zone, setting up senior Frank Moreschi (Malden, Mass./St. Thomas More School) who capitalized on the opportunity, scoring his third goal of the tournament.
With just under seven minutes left in the second period, the Knights capitalized on a 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity as freshman Nick Hirst (Waterloo, Ont./Waterloo Siskins GOJHL) fed senior Austin Kath (Milwaukee, Wis./Milwaukee Jr Admirals T1EHL) for the one-timer goal.
Despite hitting the crossbar twice in the second period, the Rams couldn't put the puck past Gross. Calvin held a comfortable 4-0 lead heading into the final period.
With just under ten minutes remaining, the Knights playing a man down, senior Ryan Racanelli (Brampton, Ont./Brampton 45's TCMHL) broke away and beat CSU goaltender Cody Christofferson top-shelf, gloveside for his second goal of the national tournament, sealing the victory for the Knights.
Late in the third period, Calvin killed off a 5-3 CSU powerplay advantage, and then another minor penalty, to maintain Gross' shutout.
Gross stopped all 48 saves he faced.
Calvin was 6-6 on penalty kills.
The Knights will face off against Farmingdale State (0-2 ACHA National Championships) tomorrow night in their final pool play game for a spot in the tournament semifinals. Puck drop is set for 7:45 p.m.