ACCHL Tournament: Virginia Powers Past GWU in Game One

Winston-Salem, NC - The Virginia Cavaliers and George Washington University Colonials faced off in the initial game of the 2018-19 Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League postseason playoff Championship at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. The Cavaliers moved into the semifinals with an exciting 4-3 win.

The Cavaliers opened the scoring at 15:06 of the first period using a beautiful setup off a faceoff in the Colonials defensive zone. Forward Thomas Elia won the draw and passed it quickly to Josh Katz. The St. Petersburg, FL native buried a clean wrist shot from the high slot for a 1-0 Virginia lead.

The Cavaliers struck again 9:30 into the period this time on the power play. Ian Murdoch initiated the play with a pass from the left point to Katz on the other point who placed a wrist shot on goal. Goalie Alec Astorga came out of the crease to make the initial stop, but Elia picked up the rebound for an easy tap in to a virtually open net.

A timeout after the power play goal called by Coach Jon Moynihan settled the Colonials down and despite two more Virginia power plays the period ended with the Cavaliers up 2-0 with a big edge (17-6) in shots on goal for the period.

The second period started and ended with power play goals by Virginia. The Cavaliers used the balance of a late first period power play, scoring with a second left on the carryover penalty. The goal came 44 seconds into the second period. Buffalo, NY native Elia picked up his second goal of the game from the top of the right circle. He took a pass at the blue line from defenseman Davis McNulty who fed him with a nice pass from just inside the defensive side of the neutral and surprised the goalie with the low shot.

Momentum then changed as two early second period penalties against the Cavaliers gave the Colonials some life, but the Cavaliers killed off both GWU opportunities. GWU had several good chances, but goaltender David Voigt made three crucial saves while his team was short-handed.

George Washington finally opened their scoring at the 16:20 mark of period two on an unassisted goal by defenseman Samuel Kirby. Moving deep into his offensive zone he surprised the Virginia netminder with an unassisted goal on a shot from the slot.

The 3-1 score didn’t last long. Another power play allowed Virginia to regain a three-goal lead near the end of the period. Elia grabbed the goal and registered a hat trick with 1:34 left in the second on a scramble in front of the net off a rebound from a shot by Ian Murdoch. The period ended with Virginia up 4-1.

GWU stormed back in the third period scoring two straight goals to climb back into the contest. First GWU scored on the residue of a power play after both teams managed trips to the penalty box within thirty seconds of each other. Brian Sargent and Cooper May assisted on the second GWU goal scored by Alex Yerkovich at the 10:44 mark.

Next a deflection near the net changed direction and brought the Colonials within one goal at 4-3. Will Yerkovich got his stick on the puck for the goal at 7:22 as Sargent picked up his second assist in the game.

GWU continued to apply pressure including one shot that hit the post and rolled along the goal line behind the goalie before the puck was cleared. Despite pulling their goalie for the extra attacker with just over a minute left in the game, the Colonials couldn’t close the gap and Virginia earned a spot in the semifinals on Saturday.