The Drexel club ice hockey team took to the ice for the second game of a home-and-home series against Lebanon Valley College. Coming off a 4-3 road win the night before, the Dragons were back on the ice Nov. 16 for a 7:45 puck drop at the Class of 1923 Arena. Although they were outshot 30-23 in the game, the Dragons played an opportunistic 60 minutes and were able to pull out a 5-2 victory over the Dutchmen.
“We had seen Lebanon Valley College the day before, and we knew their strengths and their weaknesses and used that to our advantage,” team president Alec Artosky said about how the team performed. “Our goaltender, Zach Kantner, held his own, and in combination with our solid offense, we played a really solid game.”
Drexel came out in the first period looking determined to get ahead early. While the Dutchmen were getting more pucks at the net, the Dragons put the first goal on the board courtesy of forward Eric Brawley.
The first period wasn’t all pretty for the Dragons, as some critical saves were needed from Zach Kantner. With four minutes remaining in the period, Kantner was at his best. He sprawled out to make back-to-back impressive saves to keep Drexel on top 1-0.
The second period started in the Dragons’ favor, as they got an early power-play opportunity. However, following the offensive zone faceoff, the puck squeaked by the Drexel defense, leading to a 2-on-1 for Lebanon Valley. Forward Joey LaBonte took a pass from forward Justin Boyd on the break and tied the game for the Dutchmen just 33 seconds into the period.
Drexel didn’t seem rattled after giving up the early short-handed goal, and the Dragons jumped right back on top just over one minute later. Forward Nick Lombardi stick handled into the offensive zone before taking a shot from just above the right circle, which found the five-hole of Lebanon Valley goalie Mitchell Doughty for the goal.
After taking the lead back, the Dragons were on their heels as the Dutchmen were continuously creating offensive chances. After a high-sticking penalty was called on defenseman Tyler Hill, Lebanon Valley made the most of the power-play opportunity. LaBonte found a loose puck behind the net and wrapped it around the cage for his second goal of the game.
Once again, the Dragons didn’t let the score stay even for long. Drexel found itself on the power play just over a minute after giving up the tying goal. Forward Marco Gagliardi knifed through the Lebanon Valley defense and took a wrist shot into the top-right corner to give Drexel back the lead.
With less than three minutes left in the second period, it was Kantner who came up huge for the Dragons again. Dutchmen forward Andy Thurby took a one-timer from just a few feet in front of the net, but Kantner stoned him to keep Drexel on top 3-2 going into the third period.
The third period was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams, with the next goal vital for both teams. Drexel, however, found the net first. With 11:49 remaining in the game, forward Tyler Woyshner gave the Dragons a two-goal lead with a rocket from the right circle.
It was Drexel’s first two-goal lead in the game, and it allowed the team to have some breathing room down the stretch.
“When games are close going into the third period, people tend to hold their sticks a little tighter and start to overthink the game,” Artosky said. “Separating ourselves and giving us some breathing room was huge. It allowed us to play relaxed and play our game.”
The Dragons held onto their lead from there. With 43 seconds left, Woyshner put the game away with an empty-net goal, giving Drexel a 5-2 victory in the team’s final home game of the season.