The No. 11/13 Hobart College hockey team earned a spot in the ECAC West tournament championship game with a 5-1 victory over No. 4 seed Elmira tonight in The Cooler. It was the ninth straight win for the top-seeded Statesmen.
Hobart improves to 20-6-0 overall, tying the 2005-06 Statesmen for second-most wins in a season. Only the 2008-09 Hobart hockey team has more wins in a single season than this year’s Statesmen.
Hobart will host No. 2 seed Neumann in the ECAC West tournament championship game on Saturday, March 7 in The Cooler at 7:30 p.m. The Knights topped No. 3 seed Nazareth 8-4 in tonight’s other semifinal game.
Senior Tommaso Traversa and sophomore Bobby Sokol each notched two goals in tonight’s victory. Sophomore Carl Belizario chipped in two assists. First-year goaltender Frank Oplinger turned aside 26 of the 27 shots he faced.
After a delayed start due to broken glass in warmups, Michael Collins put the Soaring Eagles (12-12-3) on the board first at 11:28 in the first period. His power-play goal came off assists from Carter Shinkaruk and Liam Burtt. With 1:47 left in the first, senior Sean Rudy capitalized on a power-play for Hobart to tie things up. He one-time a pass from classmate Ryan Michel from the blue line and scored back door. Junior Bo Webster also earned an assist on the play.
Just 2:11 into the second, Sokol notched his first goal of the night when his shot trickled over the goal line after passes from sophomore Nick Bingaman and first-year Tyler Wolf. Traversa notched back-to-back goals in the third period to extend Hobart’s lead to 4-1. Both of his goals came on Statesmen power-plays. The first was at 2:58 into the period off assists from senior Robert Sovik and Belizario. His second at 8:26 came from Belizario and senior Bronson Kovacs. With 1:28 remaining, Sokol chipped in his second goal of the night, this one he tipped in right in front on a power play. Sophomore Jon Neal and junior Mac Olson logged the assists.
The Statesmen finished with a 60-27 advantage in shots. Hobart went 4-for-8 on the power play, while Elmira finished 1-for-3. Sal Magliocco played all 60 minutes in goal for the Soaring Eagles and made 55 saves.