Busy Month for the Bulls Hockey

Dating back to the final week in October, the UB Men's Ice Hockey team is set to have quite a busy month. It started two weekends ago, when the Bulls were ranked in the ACHA Top 25. The Bulls were rated #23 in the country prior to their games that weekend which were against Ithaca and Cornell. Both games were NECHL league games where the Bulls were undefeated. The Bulls split the weekend and retained the 23rd spot in the nation. They then headed out to play #21 Syracuse back to back nights. The Bulls left the weekend with 3 out of 4 points.

Buffalo 3 Ithaca 4 (F/SO)

The Bulls suffered their first NECHL loss on the 26th of October. Ithaca started off the scoring in the first on the powerplay. This set the tone for the rest of the game. Sean Dungan scored on a slapshot midway through the 1st to tie the game up at 1. The Bulls would give up another goal later in the first and the game stayed knotted up through 40 minutes. The Bulls came out in the 3rd looking like a completely different team. They heavily outshot Ithaca in the 3rd period, which led to a tie game. Senior, Benny "Nitro" Lantz scored from the slot a few minutes in, and the Bulls were back in the game, but not for long. Ithaca scored off a strange bounce to take their lead back 3-2. With under five minutes left, the Bulls captain Matt Ganci buried a rebound to tie the game up and send it to overtime. Ithaca would have the only goal in a shootout that lasted 5 rounds. This would be Buffalo's first loss of their NECHL campaign.

Buffalo 10 Cornell 2

Buffalo knew that they needed to bounce back that Saturday against Cornell. It was a blowout start to finish as Cornell could not compete with the Bulls. Goaltender Shane Irwin got the start and earned the win. Chris Covel led the way for UB, with his second hat trick of the year. He currently has 15 goals to lead the team, and one assist. Other notables include Ben Lantz (3 assists), Shane Hurley (0 goals, 3 assists), Timmy Benner (2 PPG, 1 assist), and Eric Nestler who had an assist and a highlight reel goal.

Buffalo 3 Syracuse 2 (F/SO)

Friday night the Bulls had their hands full with the Syracuse Orange. UB got off to an early start with a goal coming from Chris Covel who ripped a shot from the blue line past the Syracuse goaltender. The Bulls put another goal in during the first, and it was Mike Schalberg this time. The Orange came back in the second and third off of a couple of missed calls and odd bounces. The game was sent into a shootout where freshman Eric Nestler scored on an absolutely perfectly placed shot (seen above) to seal the win. Matt Bradley got the win for the Bulls. This ended the Orange's Breast Cancer Appreciation game, with the Bulls taking 2 points in front of a rather large crowd.

Buffalo 4 Syracuse 5 (F/SO)

If Friday's game was poorly officiated, I don't even know how to explain Saturday. Both sides had constant problems with the officials, and this led to some chippy play. The Bulls would get off to a quick start again mid-way through the first period on a rebound goal by Mike Schalberg. The Bulls took the 1-0 lead into the locker room, and early in the second they struck again. Tim Benner scored on a giveaway in the slot to put UB in the driver seat. Syracuse would come back though, and score 3 unanswered goals before the Bulls got on the board again. Schalberg, scored again in the 3rd to tie the game up, but he wasn't done there. He scored again off of a faceoff with 5 minutes left in the 3rd. Syracuse tied the game up with a couple minutes left on a back door goal that was picture-perfect. UB and Syracuse were headed for a shootout again. The Bulls and Orange both scored with their first shooters which were the only goals until the sudden death rounds. Both teams scored in round 4, but Syracuse was the only team to score in round 5. The Bulls would drop their second shootout of three in the season, and miss out on a crucial point.

Now the Bulls prepare for 4 games in 7 days, as they face Niagara on Wednesday, Pittsburgh on Friday and Saturday, and Niagara again the following Wednesday. The Bulls also play 2 more league games that Friday and Saturday against NECHL teams. The Bulls are currently (11-1-2, 5-0-2) as they move into the heart of their schedule. The Niagara game has been rescheduled from 7:30 to a 8:30 start time. The game will be at the Northtowns Center in Amherst, NY. Bulls games will be on the radio as well, at WRUB.

For more info check out ubicehockey.com

Follow me on Twitter: @TimmyBenner

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