Mustangs Claim MAC Title With 4-3 Victory Over Manhattanville

REISTERSTOWN, Md. - The Stevenson men's ice hockey team claimed the inaugural Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Men's Ice Hockey Championship as the Mustangs posted a 4-3 MAC and United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) victory over Manhattanville Saturday evening at Reisterstown Sportsplex.

With the win, the Mustangs (9-6-6, 7-2-3 UCHC/5-0-1 MAC) not only claimed the MAC title by going unbeaten in conference play and finish with 11 points, but remain in first place in the UCHC with 17 points, one ahead of second place Lebanon Valley. The team also improved to 6-4-1 on home ice and evened the four-game series versus Manhattanville at two wins apiece.

After the hosts took the first penalty of the game, sophomore Dominic Brenza netted an unassisted shorthanded goal after the Valiants (8-7-5, 5-4-2 UCHC/2-2-0 MAC) misplayed the puck in front of the net. Brenza quickly skated to the puck and hit a slap shot over the stick of Tyler Feaver. It is the fourth shorthanded goal of the season for Stevenson and first career for Brenza. Since the New Year, Brenza has 12 points over the team's nine games.

Manhattanville made its second power play opportunity count as team leading scorer Matt Lippa scored on a one-timer from the right face-off dot. Lippa, who finished with a goal and an assist, has four points in as many games versus the Mustangs.

Stevenson reclaimed its one-goal lead midway through the second period as Brenza netted his second goal of the night after batting in a rebound out of the air on the back post. Following a line change by both teams, Manhattanville failed the clear the puck out of the zone as freshman Carl Lyden kept the puck in the Mustangs offensive zone before finding sophomore Nick Gray who fired a shot towards net. After the save by Feaver, the puck popped in the air before Brenza knocked it in for a 2-1 lead.

The Valiants once again erased the one-goal deficit as Cory Anderson scored on a rebound in front of the net. After Anderson won the offensive zone face-off, Casper Dyrssen slid the puck to the opposite point to Stephen Gaul who fired a shot at senior Jacob Caffrey who made the initial save. But the puck slid out from under Caffrey's pad before Anderson poked in over the line.

Just 2:44 into the third period, Manhattanville scored a 5-on-3 power play as Oscar Arfeit fired a shot from the point. The Valiants finished 2-for-6 on the power play.

With 8:38 remaining in regulation, sophomores Christian Ripley and Jivan Sidhu battled along the boards in the Mustangs defensive zone, finally getting the puck our to senior Jordan Watt. Watt carried the puck through the neutral zone and played the puck to sophomore Alfred Panelin-Borg who sent a wrister top shelf over the glove of Feaver to level the game at 3-3. Panelin-Borg has six points over the last four games.

Just 2:33 later, the Mustangs retook the lead with a 5-on-3 power play goal from Gray. After Panelin-Borg and senior Doug Rose passed the puck back and forth at the blue line, Panelin-Borg sent the puck down low to Lyden who quickly passed it across the face of the goal for Gray who hit a one-timer on the back post. Gray has 13 points over his last nine games. The hosts finished 1-for-6 on the power play.

Manhattanville pulled Feaver for the final 1:09 but the Valiants could not get off a shot. The visitors outshot Stevenson, 34-31, including 11-7 in the final period. Caffrey finished with 31 saves while Feaver totaled 27.

The Mustangs had 26 blocked shots, including a game-high eight by sophomore Jake McNamara. Freshman Aaron Murray finished with six.

Stevenson returns to action on Saturday, February 3 when the Mustangs travel to Elmira for a UCHC contest beginning at 7:00 p.m.