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Yeshiva University Roller Hockey Goes 4 for 4: Upsets #1 Seed at Home

Although the rest of the school was still on vacation, the Yeshiva University roller hockey team was back in action this weekend after a long mid-season break. Ending the first half on a tough overtime loss to Hofstra left the Maccabees at 4-2-2 and tied for fifth place in the ECRHA. But despite the disappointing first eight games, the boys spent two months skating, training and practicing hard, in anticipation for a late season run. With four games at home to open part two, the Macs were anxious to redeem themselves!

Between an early Shabbat and a short drive to ISCA, the boys had plenty of time to prepare for their 9 p.m. Saturday night game vs the St. Joseph’s College- Long Island Golden Eagles. With a good defensive system and very strong goaltending, the Eagles were sure to be a tough opponent for the Macs. St. Joe’s struck first late in period one, but Daniel Bordan tied it up just minutes into the second on a well-placed chip from behind the goal line. It didn’t take long for Yeshiva to grab the lead when a screen by Ami Rosenfeld gave David Soffer an empty net to bury it. A bad turnover late in the second led to an Eagles goal as the period ended. YU then grabbed the lead early in the third when Bordan put it home off the rush, but St. Joe’s once again tied it up, this time on the power play, and took the lead once again just a few minutes later. With less than two minutes left in regulation, Moshe Genuth ripped it short side on the power play to tie it at four. In the final minute, Bordan scored once again, capping off his hatty and giving the boys a thrilling 5-4 victory.

After a few hours of shut eye, the boys were back at the rink for the 7 a.m. match against Baruch College Bearcats. Sporting just four skaters and a goalie, what the Bearcats lacked in depth they made up for in heart. Baruch struck first but Yeshiva answered with six straight goals before they got another one back. The first period ended with the Macs holding an 8-2 advantage, and the two succeeding periods were more or less the same. When the final buzzer rang, the scoreboard read 17-2 and YU was now 2-0 on the weekend. Solid goalkeeping by Josh Markowitz and an impressive debut by Yaacov Schneider contributed to the big win. Four goals by Genuth and hat tricks by Matthew Carl, Sammy Smigel and Zev Markowitz fueled the offensive explosion and gave the boys a boatload of confidence before their huge game against Oswego.

After a quick but meaningful Shacharit, the boys were ready for game three of four, which was against none other than the Oswego Lakers. Sitting firmly in first place of the ECRHA, the Lakers came into the contest undefeated at 11-0 and with an impressive goal differential of +60. Facing perhaps the top team in country, this was no doubt one of the biggest games the YU boys would play this season.

Unfazed by the enormity of the match up, the Macs scored first when Matthew Carl wristed a low change-up on the power play. The lead held up until the second when Oswego got a power play goal of their own. Less than a minute later though, a strong individual effort by Bordan gave the lead back to Yeshiva. The Lakers put in two more before the second period ended, and added one early in the third for a 4-2 lead. But the boys answered back when a Zev Markowitz ripper put them within one, and some strong play in front of the net by (who but) Bordan tied the game at four with much of the third left to play. Another power play opportunity gave the Macs the chance they needed to take the lead, and Genuth made the most of it when he sniped top cheddar from an impossible angle to put Yeshiva back on top. Five and a half minutes of intense and high-flying play ensued, and with an empty net and Oswego knocking harder than ever, Soffer threw in a loose puck from his own circle to ice the game and give the Maccabees a thrilling 6-4 upset win. An especially strong team effort as well as shutdown defense, endless hustle and Vezina-caliber goaltending from Scott Weisman no doubt were the deciding factors in the huge win.

With three in the books, the Macs took a quick break before their final game of the day, which was a non-conference tilt against the Temple University Owls. Having lost to them in a shootout earlier in the season, the boys were ready for some cold-served revenge. YU got on the board first when captain Benjy Shulman zipped end to end, dangled a few d-men, and went backhand on the Temple goalie. Almost exactly a period later it was Shulman once again, doubling the Macs lead. The Owls got one before the period ended, and the game entered the third with Yeshiva up 2-1. Despite more solid defensive play, Temple broke through and tied it with three minutes remaining in the game. But with just 52 seconds left, more late game heroics by Bordan gave Yeshiva the lead and they never looked back. YU erased yet another late deficit, finishing off the Owls and the weekend sweep.

With a weekend full of strong opponents and four long contests, and a history of second half struggles, the boys defied the odds and looked golden in all their games. Hard work, hustle, team play and resilience lead the team to the big wins.

Yeshiva is back in action for the final two games of the regular season Sunday, February 17 at Skate Safe America in Old Bethpage.

Make sure to follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat) via @YURollerHockey and let’s go Maccabees! #ToTheMacs #RoadToRochester

By Aryeh Minsky

 

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