It was a tale of two outcomes for the ISU hockey team this past weekend, as they kicked-off the 2011-2012 season, playing host to the Loyola University Ramblers in a two-game set.
The Ramblers won a close game one, 3-2, behind the solid goaltending of Bill McGrenera (34 saves) and their special teams play, while the Redbirds won game two, 5-3, due to a fast start offensively and timely goals.
“It was a good start to the season,” Phil O’Connor, Redbird forward, said. “Unfortunately we didn’t win both games, but we made a few adjustments after our game one [loss] and seemed to find our touch in the second game.”
Game one, Friday night, was a hard fought battle between the two teams.
“They wouldn’t go away,” John Galvan, Redbird Defenseman, said. “Physically, they just kept coming at us.”
Loyola jumped to the early lead on a power play goal by forward Dave Katz, as he one timed a Mike Mackowski pass into the back of the Redbirds net at 13:51 in the first period.
But the Redbirds had an early answer: A power play goal of their own.
At 10:08 in the first period, ISU forward Eric Brown ripped a shot off the Ramblers goaltender, leaving a rebound in front of the net. Redbirds forward Vince Senese, right place at the right time, finished the play off and tied the game, 1-1.
The visiting Ramblers scored two more power play goals, both by forward Grant Reindeu, in the second period to give his team a, 3-1, lead.
“Their power play was strong in the first game,” O’Connor said. “We outplayed them five-on-five, but we had too many penalties that put us at a disadvantage [all night].”
The Redbirds did make a comeback attempt late in the third period, but fell short after running out of time.
Similar to their first goal, Redbirds forward Allan Urbaniak scored a goal off a rebound in front of the net to shrink the Ramblers lead to one.
The game ended and the Ramblers were victorious, 3-2, in both teams season opener.
In net for the Redbirds was goalie Steve Somerfield who kept his team within striking distance with his 33 saves on 36 shots.
Game two, Saturday evening, was a different, hungrier ISU hockey team.
Four unanswered goals to start the game for the Redbirds put the game out of reach for the Ramblers.
“We came out with a lot more energy and intensity,” Urbaniak said. “We had the chance to go ahead early and we capitalized on our opportunities.”
It was ISU’s defenseman Galvan that got the birds flying high, on what turned out to be a spectacular sequence of events, early in the first period.
Intercepting a Rambler pass, Galvan bobbed and weaved his way through the entire Rambler team until it was just him and the goalie; one-on-one. Galvan faked right, but shot left beating the, now out of position, Ramblers goalie for his team’s first goal.
“I couldn’t believe I got through them all, to be honest.” Galvan said. “I still can’t believe it, but I knew I had to settle down and finish the play with a goal.”