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Icers Recap: Rolling Over Rutgers

After splitting the weekend against Delaware, then taking a well-deserved break over Thanksgiving, the Icers found themselves back on the ice and still holding the #1 ranking in the ACHA standings. To welcome the Icers back to action, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights made their way to the Greenberg Ice Pavillion for a set of games. Due to scheduling and the level of talent in the NECHL, 21st-ranked Rutgers is already locked into March's ACHA tournament by being the regular season conference champion. A little banged up, the Icers looked to start a new winning streak with a sweep over the Scarlet Knights.

Friday, December 2nd, vs. Rutgers University:

Team 1st 2nd 3rd Final
#21 Rutgers
1
0
1
2
#1 PENN STATE 5
4
4
13
PSU Goals: Meiselman (x2), Cerutti, McDonaugh,
Acker, Johnson, Olczyk (x3), Loucks, Morrone,
Kirchhevel, Saad

The Icers would be without Taylor Holstrom and Matt Madrazo for the weekend, as they continued to rest their injuries. PJ Musico would get the start, and the Icers would look to get him some breathing room early. An early power play turned into an early power play goal for the Icers, as Meiselman would give the Icers the 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. From there, the rout was on. Cerutti and McDonaugh would make it 3-0 before Rutgers would finally get on the board. But Acker and Johnson would extend the lead to 5-1 before the first period ended. Olczyk's two goals in the 2nd would be interrupted only by a goal from Dan Loucks, and a goal from Morrone would make it 9-1 after 2 periods of play. A lazy third period allowed Rutgers to grab an early goal, while Kirchhevel would give the Icers their 10th goal before setting up Meiselman for his 2nd goal of the night. Tommy Olczyk would get his hat trick, and George Saad would cap the scoring, giving the Icers a blow-out 13-2 win.

Saturday, December 3rd, vs. Rutgers University:

Team 1st 2nd 3rd Final
#21 Rutgers
0
0
0 0
#1 PENN STATE
4
1
4
9
PSU Goals: Longo (x2), P. Daley, Russo, Friedman,
McDonaugh, Cerutti (x2), J. Daley

Continuing the cycling of quality goaltenders, Tim Carr would get his second start of the season, hoping to lead the Icers to a sweep of the Scarlet Knights. Mike Longo would get the scoring started in the first period, only to be followed by goals from Paul Daley, Brandon Russo, and Jake Friedman to give the Icers a 4-0 lead after one period of play. Mike McDonaugh's goal in the second period would be the only goal in a quiet period in terms of scoring. Cerutti would create and score on his own breakaway midway through the 3rd period, and Josh Daley would add a goal before Cerutti and Longo would both get their second goal of the game. Tim Carr would hold on to the shutout, giving the Icers a 9-0 win, capping a weekend sweep over the NECHL regular season champions.

Season Record and ACHA Ranking: 13-1-0, ranked #1 in the ACHA

News, Notes, Observations: When you outmatch a team like this weekend, it's hard to take anything away, really. To an extent, this is was a MACrifice game - everything is in working order, and nothing new can be gleaned from the effort. The Icers outscored Rutgers 22-2, outshot Rutgers 114-33, and the Icers' penalty killing continued their dominance, going 7-for-7. On the season, the Icers are now killing penalties at a 91.4% rate, and they have killed the last 25 power play opportunities against. The last PPG allowed was against D3 SUNY-Fredonia back on 11/5. The Icers also have two shorthanded goals during that period, which only adds to their dominance while playing a man down.

Other fun stats? How about Justin Kirchhevel now having 7 goals and 21 assists in 12 games? Or Tommy O's 12 goals in 12 games? How about Brandon Russo, as a defenseman, averaging a point-per-game in his first 5 games? And I can't leave out Tim Carr's shutout win this weekend, giving all three goalies a shutout on the season. The team is rolling well right now, as a whole. The goaltending is doing it's job; the offense is rolling seemingly 6 lines at will (Saturday's game saw the on-fire line of Steinour-Collins-Saad get some extra rest); and the defense is doing well-enough. Yes, we'd still like to see more from the defense at times, but most are playing well, and they're able to rotate in and out of the line-up as needed.

Up next for the Icers is a road-trip to #8 Liberty University next weekend. The Flames are always difficult, as a sizable portion of their players are Canadian-born. However, Liberty doesn't have much success to show for it, so it really doesn't mean too much in the end. Those are the last games of the 2011 calendar year for the Icers. 2012 starts with a trip to Oklahoma, with a Friday game against Central Oklahoma and a Saturday game against the Oklahoma Sooners.

The game against D3 Neumann University has still not been made official. This is the game tentatively scheduled for January 4th, to be played at Citizens Bank Park as part of the Winter Classic showcase of games. Should there finally be an official announcement, I will certainly pass that information along.

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