Men’s hockey hops past Kangaroos in weekend sweep


Dave DeLuca/The Record file photo

Senior forward Cory Gurski and the Bengals swept a weekend series against SUNY Canton this past weekend.

Tony Callens , Staff Writer

The Buffalo State men’s hockey team came into the weekend seeking their first win of the season in a pair of games at SUNY Canton and did just that in a big way with a 10-1 thumping on Friday.

Then on Saturday, they followed up the landslide win with a 5-4 overtime victory.

“We knew the team we played on Friday wasn’t going to be the same team we played on Saturday,” head coach Steve Murphy said. “We knew that they were going to come out harder. We needed to come out and give what we gave Friday and we came out flat. We were playing catchup the whole game you know down 2-0 early, down 3-1 and then down 4-3.

“It wasn’t our best effort, I think we thought it was going to be easy and it most certainly wasn’t, but at the same time I have to give our guys credit because they did play hard the whole game and they stuck with it and eventually they pulled out a win. I told them after the game at the end of the season they’re not going to ask how, they’re going to ask how many.”

In the first game, the Bengals flooded the net with pucks and jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period. Canton got on the board at the end of the period, but that would be the only goal of the day for the Kangaroos despite outshooting Buffalo State, 27-26.

Senior goaltender Mike DeLaVergne turned away 17 shots and was replaced by Ian Sylves after the game was already a sure win in order to get the sophomore some experience.

They needed DeLaVergne for the entirety of Saturday’s contest as he recorded 25 saves on 29 shots.

“We just had to stay focused and do our job,” DeLaVergne said. “We got the bounces in the first game and put up 10 goals. We knew they would come back on Saturday just as hard if not harder and we pulled out the win.”

In the second and third period, the Bengals closed out the game with a 6-0 run. Much of the success was due to forward Taylor Pryce’s play; Pryce tallied nine points over the weekend’s two contests.

His offensive contributions on Saturday when the team was down were especially important.

“He probably single-handedly carried us through the weekend,” Murphy said of Pryce. “The first game, there were a lot of guys that added to their point totals and had a good night, but in the second night, I don’t think we would have won if it wasn’t for Taylor Pryce.”

The junior had 18 points all season last year for Buffalo State. In one weekend, he tallied half of his sophomore season total.

“It was good for him. He had kind of a slow year last year, [Pryce was] kind of in that ‘sophomore slump’,” Murphy said. “We talked about him being more consistent this season and he got off to a bit of a slow start, so we’re hoping this weekend kind of helps him elevate his game and gives him some confidence.”

In addition to Pryce, eight different Bengals got on the score sheet in the first game. In the second game, Canton had the lead throughout, but with each Kangaroos goal there was a response.

Canton held a 4-3 lead with a goal at 14 minutes into the third period, but with just under three minutes remaining Pryce scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Just 43 seconds into overtime, forward Ryan Salkeld scored the game-winner to solidify the 5-4 victory.

“It was definitely real important to get that win,” Salkeld said. “We were a little sloppy on Saturday. I don’t think we respected them enough and they kind of shoved it back in our face, but we found a way to score a few goals. Pryce made some big plays and motivated us forward and we all just stuck together and found a way to win.”

The heart of the SUNYAC schedule is coming up for Buffalo State and they will take on a pair of conference rivals this weekend when they travel to Geneseo for a road tilt on Friday night then follow that up with a home game this Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Brockport.

“We didn’t feel going into the weekend that we were a winless hockey team,” Murphy said. “It was nice for the guys to get rewarded for their hard work with the big sweep this weekend. Now we’ve got to prepare for two tough games against Geneseo and Brockport. Those are must win games.”

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