RICHLAND TWP., Pa – Finals may have been done, but there was hockey left to be played for the Chatham men’s hockey team as they battled the Trine Thunder in a non-conference showdown at the Frozen Pond Arena. The Cougars came out with a 5-0 win on Saturday night, but fell to Trine 4-0 in Sunday’s nightcap. The second game woes are a trend for Chatham this season as they are 0-4 in the backend of a weekend series.
Saturday night saw Ricardo Gonzalez making his third straight start after earning his first career win while making 40 plus saves against Elmira in last Friday’s 5-1 win. Trine threw everything at Gonzalez in the first as he made 17 saves and kept the Thunder scoreless. The game remained that way until the 16:38 mark of the first when Cougar captain Chris Lutz was able to wrist one over the blocker of Trine goalie Brett Young making it 1-0 Chatham. The goal was scored at the tail end of a 4-on-4 situation and the Cougars capitalized 34 seconds later while on the power play. Greensburg native Clay Plyler jammed one in from the door step giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
Trine changed goalies in the second period as Anthony Yamnitsky replaced Young who gave up two goals on only seven shots. Cougar goalie Ricardo Gonzalez would not last much longer as he left with an injury early in the second and was replaced by Sophomore Matt Calas. The Cougars would strike once again on the power play after a beautiful pass by defenseman Matthew Ho found Clay Plyler all alone on the back door, Plyler did not miss and blasted it in the wide open cage for his second of the game making it 3-0. Chatham’s scoring continued when Chris Lutz would pick up his second goal of the game just past the midway point increasing the lead to 4-0. Thanks to some great goaltending from Calas who stopped all 12 shots he faced, the Cougars would go to the second intermission up 4-0.
Chatham and Trine would trade chances in the third but both goalies stood to the test. Trine would mount one last push as they had a power play with just over five minutes to play. The Thunder pulled the goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage but were unable to break Calas. Lutz unselfishly passed to Eric Hildebrand who scored on the empty net sealing the 5-0 win. The shutout was the first in program history and was a combined effort from Gonzalez, who picked up his second career win while making 17 saves, and Calas who stopped all 21 shots in relief. In just their second season of existence, the team’s third win of the season surpassed last year’s total of two wins.
On Sunday, Chatham turned back to Matt Calas who got off to a great start making 14 saves in the first period dominated by the Thunder. Looking to keep things scoreless, Chatham found themselves shorthanded with just 1:02 remaining in the first period. Trine’s Brent Jones blasted one just left of Calas giving the Thunder a 1-0 lead at the break. Chatham continued to lean on Calas to keep them in the game, but once again Trine found themselves on the power play and Michael Meisenbacher scored to increase the lead to 2-0. Trine continued to apply pressure and it paid off as Brandon Krumpschmid was able to extend the lead to 3-0.
Chatham looked to make comeback in the third as they played their best period of the game. However Trine goaltender Brett Young was able to hold off the Cougar’s advances. Max DiCicco would close out the game with an empty net goal. Trine outshot the Cougars 34 to 18 and would go 2-4 on the power play.
With the split, the Cougars head into the semester break with an overall record of 3-9 and 2-6 in conference putting them in 8th place in the UCHC standings. The Cougars will take on the Anna Maria AMCATS in a non-conference weekend series January 4-5. Anna Maria College, located in Paxton Massachusetts, has a record of 4-7-3. Friday’s game have a 7:10 p.m. start and Saturday begins at 3:00 p.m., both at the Frozen Pond Arena.