The goal of any collegiate hockey team is to win the conference and/or national championship. This is no different for the Gettysburg hockey team. Although they are a club team, they still compete each year for a conference championship and a chance to play in a National Championship in the ACHA. Last season Gettysburg missed their conference playoffs by a mere couple points, mainly due to some blown games early on in the season that could have and should have been won. The Bullets hoped not to repeat that this season by jumping out to a good start in their conference games. Homecoming weekend at the college marked the first two conference games for the Bullets against LaSalle and Lafayette.
Last season Gettysburg faced off against LaSalle and surrendered a late lead and were taken to overtime. Luckily they pulled the game out in overtime and gained the full two points. So Gettysburg knew they were fairly evenly matched with LaSalle and as the game got underway that held true. Gettysburg, who were missing a couple key forwards to injury (Kennedy, concussion & Yale , undisclosed) were not generating the great offensive chances that they had the previous week. In fact they came out a little sluggish. Perhaps the earlier 6pm start as opposed to the 7pm usual start threw them off. Needless to say it was LaSalle who struck first on a scramble in front of sophomore goaltender Jonathan Lipshutz taking the 1-0 lead. It wasn’t until midway through the period when Gettysburg started waking up and the scoring threat from last week, sophomore Mike Berestecky, went to work. Berestecky received a pass from linemate senior Dan O’Malley and curled out in front and let go a shot that beat the goaltender blocker side. The 1-1 score would be the way the period ended.
The second period almost mirrored the action in the first with neither team giving each other the necessary space to produce. Unfortunately early in the period Gettysburg would sustain another injury as senior Evan Conlon, separated his shoulder and would be done for the remainder of the game. At the 13 minute mark again the LaSalle team would be able to sneak a second goal past Lipshutz. But this might have been the spark that Gburg needed as off the next shift, senior captain Niall Hines received a pass from linemates sophomore Bobby MacDonald and freshman Jack Stanton and made one move around the defense and buried a back-hand tying the game at two. Minutes later, junior Garrett Flasinski jumped up in to the play to follow on a rebound and buried a wrist shot glove side through a screen for Gettysburg’s first lead of the game. The slim 3-2 lead would be what the Bullets would take in to the final frame.
Early in the period Gettysburg found themselves on a rare penalty kill, as there were only 5 penalties total given during the game, three of which came in the third. Staying with the hot penalty killer, Berestecky the coach put him out late in this penalty kill. Once again, senior assistant captain Ryan Anderson broke up the LaSalle powerplay and hit Berestecky with a pass and he blew past the two defensemen and buried the goal for another short-handed tally under his belt and giving Gettysburg a 4-2 cushion. However, with time winding down, LaSalle would not go without a fight and scored yet again pulling within one. With the pressure on the Bullets, they were actually given their first powerplay opportunity of the game with only a few minutes remaining. And Gettysburg would capitalize on this chance. Freshman Brad Bourne fed the puck down low to Hines who in turn one-touch passed it to freshman Josh Pettengill breaking towards the net who one-timed it past the goaltender for the two goal lead once again. Another scare with under a minute remaining, LaSalle pulled their goaltender and were able to score a goal on a mis-clear from Gettysburg’s zone with only 23 seconds left on the clock. Gettysburg did not want this to be a repeat of last season or a devastating loss like last weekend so they dug down in the final 23 seconds and kept it deep in LaSalle’s end to win the game 5-4. It was not their best performance, but the Bullets hung on to win their first conference game 5-4. Lipshutz was great on the night stopping 40 shots. There would be little rest as the semi-injured Bullets would face newcomer Lafayette College in less than 16 hours.
Little was known about Lafayette as they were a new member of the conference this season. One brief piece of scouting information they received was from senior Chris Fulenwider who was teammates and good friends with the Lafayette starting goaltender and that he was a solid force in net. This would prove to be more than true.
This game was Lafayette’s third in as many days and it was expected of them to feel a little fatigued. However, it was the Bullets who looked asleep as the game got started. The few chances that Gettyburg did have were easily turned away by the Lafayette goaltender. Midway through the period Gettysburg allowed one of the Lafayette players skate right in to the slot and take a shot through a screen and past sophomore goaltender Sam Shockley. Hoping like the previous game, that this would be Gburg’s wake up call. But it was not. They continued to struggle in their own end. Off a faceoff to Shockley’s right, Lafayette took a shot that deflected off of two skates in front of the net and in to the net for now a 2-0 Lafayette lead. This would be what Gettysburg needed. Minutes later it would be junior defensemen Garrett Flasinski, whose sister ironically was the Lafayette team’s manager, would once again step up in the play and receive a pass from sophomore Mike Berestecky and ripped a shot past a sprawled goaltender closing the gap to 2-1. With time winding down in the first It was Berestecky who would take it upon himself to grab a loose puck and bury one past the goaltender, who stopped him twice on breakaways but not on this chance.
Heading in to the second period Gettysburg knew they had to work hard for each goal they would get on this goaltender as they would need to make sure he had little visibility. They started with that as senior captain Niall Hines had a give-and-go with linemate sophomore Bobby MacDonald and slipped it under the goaltender for Gburg’s first lead of the game. Late in the period Gettysburg was on the powerplay and senior Dan O’Malley skated one off the side boards and back-handed a shot through traffic in front and in to the net taking the two goal lead in to the third.
Gettysburg has had trouble finishing off opponents in the past, as was evident with LaSalle less than 24 hours earlier. But on this night they would be able to do so with more hard work in front of the net and solid goaltending from Shockley. Midway through the period there was a scramble in front of the Lafayette goaltender and MacDonald scooped up the loose puck and finished it giving Gburg the 5-2 lead. Minutes later Hines and MacDonald would have a 2 on 0 with the goaltender and Hines got the goaltender to go down and dropped it to MacDonald who had an easy tap in for the final nail in the coffin of a 6-2 victory.
The Bullets put up 63 shots on the Lafayette goaltender but despite his play nothing can be taken away from Shockley who was flawless after the fluke bounce on the second goal and stopped 33 shots himself. The sweep in the opening weekend means that Gettysburg starts the conference play 2-0. Now they have a week off for Fall Break but when they return to action they will face off against the defending champions of the conference, The College of New Jersey. We would like to thank all the fans, family and alumni who attended the game during this Homecoming Weekend and we hope to see you again in two weeks.