Lions’ strong lineup gains momentum

By Julie Kayzerman
Editor-in-Chief

Back on the ice after weeks off recovering from a concussion, freshman forward Will Dimock made the most of his return to the ice hockey team’s first offensive line.

With a tied game in the third period, Dimock sniped the puck into the top left shelf of the net with just under five minutes to go as the Lions edged out Wagner College, 5-4, on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Louck’s Ice Center.

“Will had a really nice goal, a game-winner,” coach Andrew Ducko said. “Will was out of the lineup for a while… to have him back is good, he’s a good player, he sees the ice well, he’s very unselfish with the puck and he complements Kevin and Sal really well playing on their line,” Ducko said of the first line of Dimock and senior forwards Kevin Collins and Salvatore DiBrita.

Niemirka records his first collegiate goal. (Julie Kayzerman / Editor-in-Chief)
Niemirka records his first collegiate goal. (Julie Kayzerman / Editor-in-Chief)

The College took the early lead with a Collins goal off a DiBrita assist. Junior forward Will Sulpizio followed shortly after with a slap shot down the middle of the ice off an assist from junior forward Mike Lisciandro, giving Wagner’s senior goalie Steven Sedlmaier no chance at a save.

However, the Seahawks answered back with a power play goal and an equalizer with under 10 minutes to go in the first, leaving the ice at 2-2.

“(They) capitalized on the power play… but every time they scored, we answered,” Ducko said.

And the second period proved just that, as Lisciandro snuck in one of his own five minutes in, assisted by Sulpizio.

“A big part of the game was our ‘orange line’ of Suplizio, Lisciandro and sophomore forward Peter Hansinger,” Ducko said. “They played very well and were a plus on the evening… they were a huge part of our success.”

Lisciandro added another assist in the night when sophomore defender Dylan McMurrer widened the gap with a goal at 16:44 in the second.

McQuade saves 24 shots for his first win and shutout. (Julie Kayzerman / Editor-in-Chief)
McQuade saves 24 shots for his first win and shutout. (Julie Kayzerman / Editor-in-Chief)

However, Wagner found a way to lift the puck past the Lions’ senior goalie, David Laub early in the third, raising the Seahawks’ momentum. With just over 10 minutes left in the matchup and the Lions leading, 4-3, Wagner took a roughing penalty. But being down a man, seemed to only spark Wagner’s offense, as they scored a shorthanded equalizer to tie the game, 4-4.

With even play concluding the period, DiBrita stepped up tall with huge blocks. Junior defender Gary L’Heureux made his debut back on the team after some time off, with solid play in the back end to keep the College at bay until Dimock sealed the deal, 5-4. Laub made 32 saves in the triumph.

“Gary’s a great kid. To have him back is huge, it adds a lot of depth to our (defense),” Ducko said. “I see him playing a lot of minutes for us. He’s got a lot of things he can add to us, he’s fast, he’s good on the back end but he can also add some offense.”

The Lions returned home on Sunday, Nov. 8, to face Ramapo College in a dominating 9-0 display, full of first-time achievements.

Senior goalie Fred McQuade got his first start of the season and made 24 saves to secure his first win and shutout.

“It was an incredible experience and the guys in front of me played really well,” McQuade said. “We came out strong in the first period and scored a few goals which really helped me settle into the game.”

Ducko noted that while McQuade doesn’t often find himself in net for the Lions, he constantly inspires a harder work ethic from the team.

L’Heureux’s return to the ice is solid on defense against Wagner. (Julie Kayzerman / Editor-in-Chief)
L’Heureux’s return to the ice is solid on defense against Wagner. (Julie Kayzerman / Editor-in-Chief)

“Fred’s a special player. He comes to the rink ready to work every night and gives 100 percent in practice,” Ducko said. “Guys come to the rink to work hard because Freddy is working hard. They want to win for a guy like him who puts the team first, especially when he’s not getting in the net. For him to get the shutout and for him to play so well is huge, it just speaks to what a guy he is.”

Sophomore defender Brian Niemirka earned his first collegiate career goal to put the College up, 4-0. Freshman forward Rob Brown recorded his first primary assist with the Lions on a goal from senior forward Evan Herrington.

Dominating the scoreboard was sophomore forward Nick Paranizine, with a hat trick and an assist in the blowout.

Collins added two goals, both off of  assists from Dimock, who had three primary assists in the night. Senior defender Alex Moskal and Lisciandro both added a goal apiece to the victory, as well.

“We played really well in our defensive zone and were able to keep a lot of their shots to the outside,” McQuade said. “Every single player in the game did exactly what they needed to do to get us a win, and I think it proves just how deep this team is.”

The Lions move on to compete against longtime rival Rider University on Friday, Nov. 13, on home ice at the Louck’s Ice Center at 9 p.m.

“It was one of those games I will remember for the rest of my life,” McQuade said. “Moving forward in our season, it was a game that will give us confidence going into a critical two games against Rider and Princeton next weekend.”