Ice hockey takes victory in face-off against NJIT

Ramapo’s ice hockey team faced off Saturday against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in a non-conference matchup, where they demolished the Highlanders by a score of 9-1.

NJIT was able to take the lead just 18 seconds into the first period thanks to a goal by defenseman Matt Francescutto, assisted by forward Brendan Smith. From that point on, the Roadrunners scored nine straight goals.

The slaughter began for Ramapo when forward Alex Cohen was able to put one past NJIT goalie Noah Gibb despite a NJIT powerplay opportunity. One minute later, forward Brady Vella tallied what would wind up being the game-winning goal off assists from Thomas Moskal and team captain Rory Maurer.

Shortly after Vella’s goal, defenseman Michael Piccinich scored on a powerplay chance, assisted again by Moskal and Maurer. 14 seconds later, defenseman Devin Haines scored unassisted to push the Roadrunner lead to three. With five minutes remaining in the first period, forward Eric Miles made it a 5-1 lead for Ramapo, scoring unassisted.

In the second period, Ramapo did not stop with the scoring. Moskal tallied his third and fourth points of the night with back-to-back goals, accounting for the only scores of the second frame. Tallying assists on Moskal’s pair of goals were Vella, forward Ty Watson and defenseman Zach Norton.

In the third period, Moskal notched his third consecutive goal to complete his second hat trick of the season, this time an unassisted score. The final goal of the game came off the stick of forward Robert Wogisch, assisted by Cohen and Maurer.

In total, Moskal led the Roadrunners with five points, followed by Maurer with three. In total, 11 different Ramapo skaters tallied at least one point. In goal for Ramapo, senior Paul Fiorello played all 60 minutes, saving 26 of 27 shot attempts from the Highlanders. Gibb also stayed in net for the entirety of the game for NJIT, facing 78 shot attempts, saving 68 of them.

Ramapo has just two games remaining before the Empire Conference playoffs begin, where the Roadrunners will look to defend their 2023 title. Ramapo will surely be the No. 3 seed in the playoffs and will likely face off against Sacred Heart University in the first round. Last year, the Roadrunners were the bottom seed in the playoffs, but found a way to upset both Farmingdale State and Fairfield University.

However, if the Roadrunners want to repeat their success from last season, they have to find production from a new group of players. The three top scorers from last year’s playoffs, Chris Dressler, Eddie Dahdah and Trent Shanley, have all graduated. The leaders in points for this year’s squad are Moskal, Anthony Fizer and Maurer with 39, 37 and 32 respectively. No other player on the roster has eclipsed 20 total points.

Ramapo’s final two tuneups before the playoffs will take place this weekend, where they’ll face division rival Quinnipiac University on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne and travel to face NJIT again on Sunday, Feb. 18 in Newark.


Featured photo courtesy of Tessa Pofahl Photos