DePaul overcomes hard hitting game to improve to 12-1


Donald Crocker

#72 junior winger Billy Paschen and #26 junior defensemen Josh Maloney discussing the gameplan on the ice.

When the weekly rankings were released ahead of Friday’s match up, the American Collegiate Hockey League second central division ranked DePaul at No. 8 and Adrian College at No. 9. 

This made the weekend series between the Blue Demons and Bulldogs highly anticipated, bringing the best out of the two teams.  

Blue Demons took down the Bulldogs 7-5, highlighted by the senior defensemen Michael Helf and junior defensemen Josh Maloney’s contribution offensively with two crucial goals. 

Adrian brought their style of aggressive and hard hitting hockey to Johnny’s Ice House West on Friday. A style the Blue Demons normally don’t play, but are not afraid to showcase when they need to. 

Head coach Dan Wood said his team understood the task and the type of game they needed to play against Adrian. 

“Whenever we play Adrian it’s always a battle,” Wood said. “They’re a really good team and they play with a lot of intensity, so we knew coming in that we’d have to be working hard.” 

Senior winger Brock Ash got the scoring started for the Blue Demons. A turnover near DePaul’s blue line allowed Ash to skate freely on a break away as he put in his 16th goal of the season. 

Adrian would respond just 20 seconds later as they got their first shot past junior goalie Asher Motew. 

The Blue Demons responded to many of Adrian’s hits against the boards. Junior defenseman Chris Lee was one of many, but by far the most physically active player from DePaul, delivering large blows out in open ice. 

Penalties were apparent in Friday’s game. There were nearly 20 total minutes of penalty time combined between the two teams. 

The longest penalty of the game came from Lee’s hit on Adrian’s No. 4 Chase Spencer which resulted in a five minute major for contact to the head. The hit had everyone in Johnny’s Ice House West on their feet, which brought the fans into the game even more. 

Five goals were scored in the first period between the two teams in a game that was supposed to feature two good defenses, but instead quickly turned into a shootout. 

DePaul went up 3-1 courtesy of a goal from Helf half way through the first period, but the Bulldogs responded quickly, cutting the lead to one heading into the first intermission. 

The defense played its part throughout the entirety of the second period. Not a single shot went through, although a total of 23 were placed on goal. 

Senior captain Jackson Leptich spoke about how DePaul made sure they continued to play their style of play during the game. 

“We played these guys last year, beat them once and they played the same way,” Leptich said. “Those guys were just like that tonight, fast and physical and so you gotta keep your composure and we knew that coming in. I think we did a pretty good job overall doing that.” 

Heading into the third period, the two top-10 ranked teams left it all out on the ice. DePaul’s goal horn went off four times in the third, capping off the game clinching goal by Maloney. 

“When I scored, we were just on the powerplay. I went outside towards the boards and I just saw a small opening so I just closed my eyes and shot and got lucky.” Maloney said. 

Things continued to get chippy between the two teams after a DePaul goal was called off. Eight more minutes of power play times were awarded between the two teams. 

As the game progressed the Blue Demons gained more and more momentum and in the end their offensive strengths prevailed as they improved to 14-1. 

Nearing the half point of the season, the Blue Demons are headed in the right direction. The remaining schedule gets tougher for DePaul, but the experience gained Friday will allow them to be prepared for the opponents with similar or better talent. 

Leptich said the team has stuck by their preseason motivates, which has allowed them to pick up wins throughout the season. 

“At the beginning of the year, we set our sights on specific goals and I think we’re on a great track thus far to achieve all those,” Leptich said. “We want to win nationals and win our conference. Being 14-1 that’s a great start, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

DePaul was scheduled to travel to Adrian, MI for part two of the series, but due to external circumstances, game two was canceled allowing DePaul time to recover and access film over Friday’s win.  

The Blue Demons will be back at Johnny’ Ice House on Friday, Nov. 18 at 8:30 PM CST to take on Indiana University, who is currently ranked No. 5 in the southeast division. 

Connect with Preston Zbrosczcyk: @PrestonZbroszc1 | [email protected]