Ice hockey drops season opener in overtime

Coming off their Empire Conference championship in February, the Ramapo College ice hockey team took to the ice for the first time this season, taking on Kutztown University at the Ice Vault arena. Despite the new energy around the team, the Roadrunners fell in overtime, 4-3.

The first period started off rocky, with both teams showing rust to kick off the new season. The first period alone saw 24 combined penalty minutes — highlighted by a 10-minute abuse of the official penalty by Kutztown’s Antonio Anello.

Despite the penalties, the Golden Bears were able to strike twice in the first period, giving them a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. The first goal came just two minutes into action, when defenseman Paul Perricone was able to put one past Ramapo’s Paul Fiorello off an assist from forward Liam O’Neill.

The second goal came at the 7:37 mark of the period, when O’Neill scored his first goal of the season for Kutztown, off assists from Kolton Bates and Bailey Slotwinski. 

To start the second period, the Golden Bears didn’t do themselves any favors, giving the Roadrunners multiple power play opportunities. Senior center Thomas Moskal was able to capitalize off the mistakes, scoring the first goal of the season for Ramapo off assists from first year winger Jacob Hepburn and senior winger Alex Cohen. 

One minute after Moskal’s goal, another opportunity for a power play presented itself for Ramapo. This time, senior alternate captain Anthony Fizer was the one to pounce on the chance, tying the game at two off assists from Moskal and team captain Rory Maurer. 

The even score didn’t last long, however, as two minutes after Fizer’s goal, left winger Griffin Carpenter gave the Golden Bears the lead again off an assist from forward Chase Canestra. The second period would end with a 3-2 lead in favor of Kutztown.

Midway through the third period, Moskal was left alone on a breakaway opportunity off a Golden Bears turnover, and he was able to tally his second goal of the game to tie it up at three. Neither team would score again in the final minutes of the third period, sending the first game of the season to overtime.

The first half of the five minute, three-on-three sudden death period stayed scoreless until a bad pass from Moskal led to a two on zero opportunity for the Golden Bears. Perricone carried the puck down the ice, and a quick pass to center Joshua Bower was all that was needed to put the game winning goal past Fiorello.

Fiorello had a solid night overall in his first season as the starting goalie, saving 26 of 30 shots he faced. For Kutztown, goalie Colby Rosen saved 33 of the 36 shots he faced from the Roadrunners.

There is no doubt that the new Roadrunner team showed potential in their first game of the season, but coach Mike Winters and company have plenty to work on before the next time the team takes to the ice.

Ramapo’s first line from last year’s championship is completely gone, paving the way for new players to take on leadership positions. In the first game, the Roadrunners relied heavily on Moskal, Maurer and alternate captain Daniel Klutkoski — the team’s new first line forwards. Moskal was able to take the reins in the first match on offense, but there’s plenty of season remaining for other players to step up.

The Roadrunners will have a week off before the next time they step on the ice. Their next matchups come the weekend of Oct. 13, when they’ll face Rutgers University at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne on Friday, and have a road game against division rival Quinnipiac University on Saturday in Northford, CT.

Featured photo by William Jackson