HARMAR TWP., Pa. — A surging Duquesne Dukes (7-19, 5-8 CHMA) team pulled out all the stops to take down the Slippery Rock Pride (9-10-2, 6-3-1 CHMA) 5-3 Saturday night at Alpha Ice Complex. Five different Dukes scored in the contest as freshman goaltender Alex Neverve made 39 saves in the win.
Team points leader and co-captain Sean Lloyd opened the scoring just before the midway point of the first period, but was immediately answered by Kevin Koett of Slippery Rock to knot the game 1-1. Trevor Gilliland gave the Pride a 2-1 advantage less than two minutes later.
At 8:01 of the second period, Cameron Sunseri evened the game for Duquesne before Evan Blum scored a power play goal at 9:45 of the period to give the Dukes a 3-2 lead. Duquesne added another just two minutes later for a 4-2 lead after two periods.
Just over a minute into the third period, Slippery Rock points leader Jamie Mauro got in on the action, firing a quick snipe from the point to bring the Pride within a goal. That deficit would not close, though, as Brandon Kozak put in the empty net goal for Duquesne with just over a minute remaining to secure the 5-3 win and the season sweep of the Slippery Rock Pride.
Dukes’ goaltender Alex Neverve saved 39 out of 42 shots for the win. After the game, he talked about how staying calm and keeping his cool has been the key to helping his teammates maintain confidence during the season’s losing streak and helping start the late-season surge.
“I definitely believe a goaltender contributes a lot to how a team functions. They are the backbone of a team. One thing I always focus on is making sure I’m staying composed and calm to make sure the guys are feeding off of that and they are feeling confident so we can turn that into energy for offensive opportunities.”
Offensive opportunities are exactly what Duquesne has been missing for most of the season. The Dukes have scored five or more goals just four times this season, and just once during their 14 game losing streak. They scored five goals in each of the two games over the weekend.
“We know the position that we are in, we know that there is still an opportunity,” Neverve continued. “I know the boys want to keep pushing and do the best that they can so we are digging deep and making sure we are buying into the system. Everyone is making sure they are going out and giving their all on the ice and the results talk for themselves.”
Duquesne hosts IUP on Friday, Feb. 14 at Alpha Ice Complex for their final conference game of the season. A win – or a Mercyhurst loss to Pitt on Saturday, Feb. 15 – would clinch a playoff spot for the Dukes. Duquesne finishes the season with a home-and-away weekend against Kent State on Feb 21 and 22. The Friday night matchup will be at Alpha Ice Complex at 6 p.m. and the Saturday matchup will be at Kent State Ice Arena at 8 p.m.
Slippery Rock has four conference games remaining. The Pride will travel to IUP on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at S&T Bank Arena and will play Pitt on Friday, Feb. 14 at Alpha Ice Complex at 9:20 p.m.