Hockey Wins And Ties In Opening Weekend

Ryan Jones, Sports Editor

Central Connecticut’s men hockey team took advantage of home ice in their season opener, landing an 8-6 win against New Haven before tying Bridgewater State 5-5 in their second game.

The Blue Devils did not come out of the gates hot against New Haven, quickly falling behind 2-0 with 10 minutes still to play in the first period.

Sophomore forward Ryan Berry brought the Blue Devils back into things late in the first. Berry secured a juicy rebound before putting a shot into the open net to put CCSU on the board with 3:30 left in the first.

Fellow sophomore Mason Boyhen followed suit not long after, tying the game before the first period ended.

The ensuing two periods was an offensive clinic for the Blue Devils. Just 15 seconds into the second, the Central took the opening face-off and quickly took advantage of it as Boyhen landed his second of the night.

The Blue Devils continued to berate New Haven, keeping it in the Nighthawk’s zone for the ensuing five minutes following Boyhen’s goal. Once New Haven got things going again, however, things quickly flipped south for the Blue Devils.

Two quick goals from the Nighthawks forced CCSU to sub in freshman goalie Jared Apfelbaum.

The move proved to be a good one for first-year head coach Mitch Beck and the Blue Devils, as Apfelbaum only allowed one goal for the remainder of the second.

After a CCSU goal from senior captain Kevin Murphy, the Blue Devils faced a five-on-four disadvantage after a tripping call. Freshman Cam O’Connor did not let the Nighthawks capitalize, however, landing a short-handed goal to tie the game back up at five.

Senior James Huften buried a shot with four minutes left in the second to give CCSU the 6-5 lead, one they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.

O’Connor continued to lead the way for the Blue Devils, scoring again and again for not only a hat trick but four goals on the game.

“We weren’t at our best and we still found a way to win,” Beck said after the game, explaining how “it was gut-check time” for the team.

“Coming out of the gates with a dub is crucial to the mental state,” goalkeeper Matthew Beckoff said after the game. “Every game is like adding fuel to the engine, so if we can keep rolling and keep playing our brand of hockey like we did in the second and third, then I think that we can keep burying teams and keep fueling our fire.”

CCSU traveled to Massachusetts Saturday to take on Bridgewater.

After a quick power play goal from Bridgewater, Berry tied the game for the Blue Devils for his second goal of the season with two minutes left in the first. Bridgewater drew a penalty only 30 seconds after Berry’s goal and quickly erased the tie to give them a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.

The Blue Devils answered back with two quick goals to take the 3-2 lead over the Eagles in the second.

Two Eagles went to the penalty box as the Blue Devils sent one of their own, but Bridgewater were the ones to put one on the board to tie the game at three.

BSU scored again to take the lead with nine minutes to play in the second. Neither team would score for the remainder of the period and it would take almost seven minutes into third for the score to change.

Murphy scored again to tie the game for the Blue Devils. A quick goal from BSU gave them the lead again late, but reigning conference MVP Billy McKinley landed his first goal of the year to tie the game at five, sending the game into overtime.

Despite a late opportunity thanks to a BSU penalty, neither team notched a score in extras, giving the Blue Devils their first tie of the year.

The Blue Devils will be on the road next week, taking on Rider, Seton Hall and Montclair State over the weekend.