The weather is brisk, the snow has fallen, and the Zamboni fumes are in the air. Hockey is back! As are the Bullets as they return to action for the second semester. Gettysburg is looking to continue their momentum from the first semester and their impressive 10-0-1 conference record. But the road to the playoffs is still going to be an uphill battle as right out of the gate they have three games in the first weekend.
At the end of the first semester the Bullets also had a marathon weekend with three plus games in a weekend and they seemed to run out of steam towards the end. An additional factor to put on top of the three game weekend is that this is their first game back in over a month from their Winter break. So in their first matchup against Seton Hall they would have to shake off the rust very quickly.
As the game started you did see an element of having a month off in their play. In fact they took five penalties in the first period. Despite the lackluster play, midway through the period, freshman Josh Pettengill flew in to the Pirates zone and slammed on the brakes. Despite taking a hit, he first dished the puck to senior Dan O’Malley trailing the play who rarely misses with his wrist shot from the slot, and buried it for the 1-0 lead. Late in the period a deflection in front found its way past sophomore goaltender Jon Lipshutz to send the game in to the second tied at one.
The rusty play continued in the second as the Bullets once again had trouble finishing on their chances. Seton Hall capitalized with two unanswered goals, one on the powerplay. However, this sparked the Bullet’s offense as they tallied two powerplay goals of their own. The first off a tick-tack-toe play from junior Garrett Flasinksi to senior assistant captain Ryan Anderson. Less than a minute later senior captain Niall Hines, brought the puck out of the corner, walked out in front and buried a shot to tie the game at three. Gburg started to look back in to form, but once again a bad bounce led to a Seton Hall breakaway and they took the one goal lead once again. Finally late in the period a scramble in front of Lipshutz resulted in a goal, despite the appearance of the net being off and the Bullets would head in to the final frame down by two goals.
In the third, Gettysburg needed to jump out with the first goal but it was to no avail as it was Seton Hall who netted the first goal midway through the period to take a three goal lead. With time winding down, the Bullets were short-handed but sophomore defensemen Jon Bloom gave them a hint of life as he buried a saucer pass from senior Brett Clarke to pull within two. Despite some late attempts with the goaltender pulled, Seton Hall capped off their victory with an empty net and removed Gettysburg’s unbeaten record. Even though Gettysburg outshot the Pirates, they did not look solid in their own defensive zone and with two more games remaining in the weekend, they needed to pick up their play.
The second game of the weekend the Bullets hosted New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Much like Seton Hall, the Bullets had not played this team since the beginning of the 2011-12 season. The start of the game unfortunately started to mirror that of the Seton Hall game. Gettysburg began to take a number of first period penalties. NJIT scored first as they snuck a shot under the arm of freshman goaltender Ramiz Chaudhary. Late in the period Gburg struck back with a rebound goal from sophomore Mike Bersetecky.
In the second period, NJIT shot what seemed to be a harmless dump in that took a strange bounce off the boards and ended up in to the net for the 2-1 lead. This seemed to be the spark Gettysburg needed as they went on to net four unanswered goals in the second period, two in the final minute of play. First was junior Bobby MacDonald who ripped a shot past the goaltender. Second was junior Hunter Yale following up on a shot from senior captain Hines. The third was MacDonald’s second of the night right off the draw wristed it over the shoulder of the netminder. Off the ensuing faceoff, Hines skated in the offensive zone and buried it to take the 5-2 lead in to the final period.
Despite not being able to score in the final period and giving up two late goals, the Bullets still hung on to win the game 5-4. Chaudhary hung tough stopping 33 shots on the night. Gettysburg was hoping to take the little momentum in to their final game of the weekend against divisional rival Susquehanna.
Gettysburg has always had success against Susquehanna, even since the days when both teams were in the MDCHA. However, their first matchup was very physical, this would be Gburg’s third game in three days, and Susquehanna had been playing some decent hockey as of late. Even with these factors, the Bullets had one of their best starts of the year.
They jumped on the Crusaders early off four goals in the first period. First Berestecky netted his first of the game. Hines netted one midway through the period. Minutes later Yale would break in and speed past the defense for the three goal lead. To finish the period freshman defenseman Brad Bourne jumped in to the slot and Hines hit him for the one timer past the goaltender.
The second period was a continuation of the first as the Bullets continued their scoring. Off a faceoff in the offensive zone, freshman Eric Miller netted his first goal of his collegiate career. Unfortunately, midway through the period the Crusaders were finally able to get a shot past sophomore goaltender Sam Shockley. Late in the period Gburg was killing a penalty and Berestecky picked a pass off the stick of one of the Susquehanna players and walked in alone for a shorty for his second of the game.
The final period saw a halting in the scoring but not before Berestecky completed his hat trick, as he did so in highlight reel fashion. First receiving a pass from goaltender Sam Shockley and senior assistant captain Chris Fulenwider, Berestecky took it end to end, with Evgeni Malkin-eque moves through the legs of two Susquehanna defenders and then under the goaltender. Despite a late rebound goal, Susquehanna had been fended off again and the Bullets finished with a 7-2 victory. Shockley performed well stopping 26 shots on the night.
Even though Gburg’s undefeated conference play was no longer a possibility, they still have a hold on the top spot in the conference. However, keeping it will be a task as they have four more conference games remaining, two against top teams in Millersville and Kutztown. Thank you to the parents and fans that came out for this three game weekend! We hope to see you again in the final home weekend where we will honor our graduating seniors.