After watching the heated rivalry between the Captains and Old Dominion University on Friday night, one can only wonder why this team is not school sponsored.
Captains’ players and fans alike wait all season for this particular matchup. “Ever since I got recruited to play for CNU all I heard about was the intense rivalry between CNU and ODU,” said sophomore Brandon Finch.
Inside of Hampton Roads IcePlex, Christopher Newport University fans packed the stadium for what turned out to be an exciting display of hockey.
The First Period
The game started with a seeming lack of energy on either side. Twenty seconds into the game the Captains were called for having too many men on the ice, which resulted in a penalty. ODU scored on the shorthanded opportunity with 36 seconds left in the power play.
Freshman Patrick Sheehan leveled an ODU player attempting to break out of his defensive zone, setting the stage for what turned out to be the Captains most physical game of their season.
Captains drew a holding penalty with less than 13 minutes left in the period. One minute into the CNU power play, ODU was penalized again for another hooking call, giving the Captains a five on three opportunity. The Captains failed to score but drew another penalty after a quick scuffle in front of the ODU net. ODU was given a five minute misconduct, sending the player off to the locker room for the rest of the game.
Freshman Brad Kostrzebski passed to a wide-open sophomore Shane Kehl who ripped a slap shot straight into the top right corner, tying the game up with less than 10 minutes left in the first period. Sophomore Tyler Bemis was accredited with the secondary assist.
By the end of the first period there were 16 penalties called—six on CNU and ten on ODU–and two ODU players were ejected. CNU would outshoot their opponent 16-5 by the end of the period.
The Second Period
At the start of the second period the two teams were tied up at one with an overlapping ODU penalty.
Sheehan brought the team and fans alive with a huge hit at mid-ice that left the ODU player slow to recover.
Goalie junior Harrison Jenkins sprinted to the bench for a delayed penalty call, giving CNU the extra skater. Junior Matt Scott rebounded a shot from freshman Kyle Jahn and put the puck in between the legs of the ODU goalie, giving the Captains their first lead of the game and erasing the penalty.
The ODU goalie was relentless in stopping CNU’s attempts to gain a two goal advantage. A wide-open Kehl one-timed a pass in the crease, only to get stone-walled by ODU’s netminder.
ODU tied up the game at 5:57 into the second period off a strange bounce that went over Goaltender Jenkins shoulder.
The Captains picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, causing a three on two towards ODU’s goal. Bemis passed to Jahn, who set up Sheehan at the doorstep who gave the Captains their third goal of the game.
The onslaught of offensive plays continued, leaving the responsibility entirely on the ODU goaltender. Jahn backhanded a rebound while the goalie was down, but the ODU goaltender somehow managed to glove it out of the air.
Once again ODU tied up the game when the puck ricocheted off the backboards and landed right on the stick of an open ODU player, who put it away with 1:42 left in the second period. Jenkins saved his team from trailing into the third with a beautiful kick save at the end of the period.
Bringing it Home
Nine seconds into the third period, ODU was charged with a hooking call. Sheehan gave the Captains an early lead when he deflected a slap shot from defenseman senior Kenny Zamborsky, making the score 4-3.
Senior Ryan Lafayette would give the Captains a two goal cushion after he rebounded a shot from Brian Capranica.
Kehl took the puck in the neutral zone and skated down the left side, stick handled past ODU’s defenseman and put in a beautiful backhander. Bemis would be awarded his fourth assist of the night on Kehl’s goal.
Jenkins gave up another goal over his shoulder with less than ten minutes left in regulation, making the score 6-4.
Kehl would respond with his hat trick goal, giving the Captains a strong 7-4 lead over ODU.
Brad Kostrzebski embarrassed ODU’s defense as he stick-handled through three players and slipped a shot under the goaltender’s pads, giving the Captains their final goal. CNU would go on to finish 8-4 against their division rivals.
The banging on the glass and the cheers from the crowd filled the arena as CNU saluted their fans after another exciting win.
CNU’s next home game will be Oct. 19 against Virginia Commonwealth University. Watch the two teams battle in their conference championship game rematch at Hampton Roads IcePlex.