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Crowd Pulls Hockey Team to Playoffs

By Thomas Kettler and Daniel Wang
staff reporters

Only a day after having been defeated by the MIT men's hockey team, the Southern Connecticut State University Owls got their revenge Saturday night with a 3-2 victory behind a hat trick by Bill Bogenicki. The loss left the Engineers 6-11-3 overall for the season.

The Engineers had defeated SCSU, 7-6, the previous evening to make the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

Saturday's game started quickly with the first period leaving SCSU ahead, 2-1. The first score came on a breakaway by SCSU 7 minutes and 18 minutes into the game. MIT answered five minutes later on a goal by Chad Mikkleson '94 with assists by Josh Fedderly '94 and Daryl Hemingway '94. The Owls scored their second goal off a power play with four minutes left in the period.

In the second period, the Engineers tied the game during a power play of their own. Tetsu Inada '97 scored the goal five minutes into the period with assists by Hemingway and Stephen Schlueter '95.

Both teams had other power play opportunities throughout the period but neither could convert. SCSU had problems, as they could not even get a shot on the goal during some of their power plays.

The Owls got the final and winning goal three minutes into the final period. MIT had chances to answer but the SCSU goalie made some excellent saves to seal the victory. Players from both teams fought at the end of the game.

"Bogenicki made the play in the 3rd when they needed it. He's a great player," Assistant coach Tom Keller said. "We had our shots. Couple point blank ones [shots on goal]. Their goalie played very well."

Only one day earlier, the Engineers were still fighting to participate in the New England Collegiate Club Hockey Association Championship Tournament.

The Engineers took on SCSU, the top-ranked team in the NECCHA, Friday night at Johnson Athletic Center. The game had been postponed from Feb. 12.

In their previous meeting in the season, also at Johnson, the Owls soundly defeated the Engineers, 7-3.

The Engineers had the luck of playing at home with an enthusiastic crowd. In the end, they were able to pull off the upset win, 7-6, in a hard-hitting thriller.

Throughout the first period, the action was fast and furious. Early on, MIT trailed, 1-0, when SCSU player Bill Bogenicki scored 4:35 into the game.

Less than 20 seconds later, defenseman Stephen Schluetter '95 responded with a goal of his own, with an assist by forward Josh Fedderly '94.

MIT then went ahead with a goal by right wing Daryl Hemingway '94 off of a rebound, assisted by center Tetsu Inada '97 and left wing Lloyd Johnston G. Schluetter's goal helped spark an explosion, as MIT added two more goals to go up, 4-1.

The third MIT goal came with 6:56 remaining in the period. Schluetter made a slap shot that was blocked, but defenseman Nicholas Pearce '94 took the rebound and stuffed the puck in the goal.

After many crowd-pleasing hits, the next score came a little less than three minutes later, when forward Dan Lee G stole the puck from an SCSU player, broke away, and flicked it high into the corner, out of the reach of the goalie.

On the other end of the ice, the defense, led by goalie John Simmons '95, did an excellent job of keeping the puck away from their half. There were many close calls, but the defense kept the Owls from scoring any goals. The Engineers were given a standing ovation by the crowd, as they headed to the locker room.

Second period rough for Engineers

Fortunes seemed to turn around for MIT in the second period. In the early part of the period, the MIT defense continued to deliver, making many steals, and often clearing the puck out of the defensive end. However, the offense was unable to hold the puck long enough to generate an effective offense.

As a result, SCSU exploded, scoring three goals within two and a half minutes, to tie the score, 4-4.

The second goal was perhaps accidental, as it slipped out of the grasp of Simmons after he supposedly stopped it.

Offensive campaigns continued to be unsuccessful, while Simmons made many great saves, in addition to receiving some lucky near-misses.

Simmons was not invincible, though, and SCSU scored with 5:47 remaining. Pearce fell to the ice in a valiant attempt to stop the puck, but the driving player passed off to a teammate, who scored with a wrist shot.

With SCSU up, 5-4, both sides became even more aggressive than before. The referee spotted two SCSU players repeatedly shoving Schluetter into the SCSU bench with 4:18 left. Both of them were assessed penalties for roughing, giving the Engineers a 5-on-3 advantage.

Less than 40 seconds later, with MIT dominating the offense, Schluetter drove, stuttered for a short moment, then netted a wrist shot, to tie the game again. Johnston and Inada were credited with assists.

Scoring, penalties prevail in third

The intensity of the action did not drop at all in the third period, which turned out to be a down-to-the-buzzer battle. SCSU seemed to have become too aggressive, sending many players to the penalty box. The game became dictated by penalties, as MIT ended up scoring its last two goals during power plays.

At 15:35, the referee did not fail to notice SCSU player Dave Hansen knocking Lee down. Hansen received a penalty for cross-checking, giving MIT a one-player advantage yet again. Seconds later, Pearce sneaked up from behind the SCSU goal, and stuffed the puck in the side of the goal.

For the next few minutes, MIT had many more opportunities to go ahead, but could not score.

SCSU responded to Pearce's goal by scoring one of their own, at 7:38, leaving the game in a 6-6 deadlock.

With 6:18 left in the game, Pat O'Neil tangled up with Lee, and went to the penalty box for holding. While still serving his time, Joe Maus joined O'Neil, for high-sticking. The Engineers then had another 5-on-3 advantage.

The Engineers were not able to score before O'Neil returned to the game, but did so soon afterwards. With less than four minutes left in the game, Pearce passed the puck to Hemingway, who passed it in the side of the net, for his second goal of the evening.

In the final minute of the game, SCSU pulled out its goalie to add an extra attacker, thus applying pressure throughout the closing moments. MIT was fortunately able to hold off the challenge.

After the final buzzer, the MIT bench cleared onto the ice to show jubilation. The audience gave similar praise, with another standing ovation.

The statistics clearly showed penalties to be the deciding factor. SCSU players went to the penalty box nine times, which converted to five goals for MIT. Meanwhile, on the other side, the penalty box was quiet, as only one MIT player was assessed a penalty in the entire game.

"It was a complete team effort. We knew that we could beat them," said Joe Quinn, coach of the Engineers. "Some individuals played up to their level of talent."

"They [SCSU] were a faster skating team, but our kids played in good position," Quinn said.

Quinn gave a lot of credit to the defensive players, most of whom provide outstanding efforts, yet often go unrecognized. Quinn considered the goalie to be a major contributor, saying, "Simmons made great saves. Whichever team scored that sixth goal [with the score tied 5-5] would have won the game."