Roller Hockey Eliminated in ECRHA Semifinals

Photo by Mike Montalto

The Ramapo Roadrunners roller hockey team ended their season on Sunday with an 11-2 loss to Syracuse in the Eastern Collegiate Roller Hockey Association Division IV Semifinals.

The Roadrunners advanced to the semifinal for the first time in over four seasons with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Cornell in the quarterfinal round on Saturday night.

“The team made a great effort in making it as far as we did,” said senior and team captain Jeremy Higginson. “Everyone bought into the system, played hard and left it all out on the rink. There is nothing else we can ask for.”

After a scoreless first period against Cornell, junior Cory Avon broke the tie just 46 seconds into the second period as he buried a rebound from a long shot by freshman Josh Filipovits.

Five minutes later, junior Eric Kristensen beat Cornell goaltender, 19-year-old Nathalie Deney, with a low shot just inside the left post to give the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Kenneth Bogart found an answer for Cornell and brought his team within a goal.

Bogart would then score a power play goal with just three seconds remaining in the period to tie the game at 2-2 before the third. Bogart finished second in the Division IV regular season in points and goals with 41 and 30 in 12 games respectively.

Cornell would keep up their intensity at the start of the third period, as forward Tyler Judge scored to put his team up 3-2, just nine seconds into the third period. Cornell had scored twice in just 12 seconds to go from a one goal deficit to a one goal lead.

However, the Roadrunners did not back down and found a way to score two goals in the game’s final two minutes. Higginson and Filipovits scored just 37 seconds apart and junior goaltender Eddie Skrzypek kept the puck out of the Roadrunner’s net, even as Cornell pushed hard and pulled their goalie in favor of an extra attacker as the Roadrunners eliminated Cornell and advanced to the semifinals against Syracuse.

Ramapo, who entered the postseason as the No. 5 seed with a 6-6 record, pulled off the upset, defeating Cornell, who finished third in the Division with a 8-3 record.

However, the Roadrunners could not duplicate the upset, as they fell to Syracuse in the semifinal. Syracuse entered the postseason as the No. 1 seed with an undefeated 12-0 record.

“We remained a competitive team and turned some heads in the league. We also made it farther than we have in the past four years,” Higginson said. “We all had a lot of fun playing this season, so I’d say the season was still a success.”

A goal by Ramapo junior Matt Zakrzewski at 4:27 in the second period of the semifinal game brought the Roadrunners within a goal, down just 3-2; however, Syracuse would then take control and score twice more in the second and add six third period goals en route to their second straight appearance in the Division IV Final.

Syracuse was defeated by Lock Haven University in the Championship game, 9-5 later on Sunday. Lock Haven entered the postseason as the No. 2 seed with a 11-1 record, with their only loss coming from Syracuse on Nov. 23.  

The Roadrunners will only graduate two seniors, Higginson and defenseman Mike Montalto. The captain said that he is confident that the team will pick up where they left off next season with a new leadership group.

“I believe that the team will still remain a competitive force next year despite losing myself and Montalto,” Higginson said. “They have a ton of potential talent along with some young leaders that I believe are going to step up tremendously next year.”