Demons improve to 18-4 on the season after sweep of UW-Oshkosh


Preston Zbroszczyk

Sophmore winger Matt Newton skates past a Titan’s defender looking to score during Friday’s 7-3 victory. at Johnny’s Ice House West.

In yet another weekend sweep, DePaul took care of Wisconsin-Oshkosh at Johnny’s Ice House over the weekend. On track to have their best regular season since the club was created in 1992, the Blue Demons have scored 144 goals in 22 games. 

Friday started with a 7-3 victory as junior winger Billy Paschen scored four goals to rally DePaul. Paschen also assisted in DePaul’s first goal, giving him a total of five points on the night and 24 goals on the season. 

Prior to this weekend’s games, DePaul previously suffered its first back-to-back losses of the season to Kentucky on Dec. 9 and 10 before heading on break. The Blue Demons, expecting to get back on track, did not want the results from last season when the Titans took the second game, to repeat again. 

DePaul let in over six goals the second game last season and were left with that reminder. Sophomore winger Danny Mannarino spoke on making sure the same result did not happen. 

“Usually the second games are pretty close, just because they get used to our systems and stuff,” Mannarino said. “Last year, they scored six quick on us in like five minutes. We just have to keep playing our game and not allow the goals or momentum to change how we play.” 

Senior goalie Asher Motew made 37 saves on 40 shots in the first game and only gave up two goals in the second game, allowing for another efficient night where he led his offense to a comfortable lead. 

Saturday’s game was the opposite of last season’s. DePaul scored 12 goals while only allowing two the entire game. 

Senior defenseman Michael Helf scored twice in the 12-2 win, allowing him to achieve 200 career points and 100 career goals. Helf is just the second player in DePaul club hockey to accomplish the milestone. 

Helf is currently 8th in all of Division-II rankings with 46 points on the season, averaging 2.19 points per game. 

The Blue Demons have six weekend series left before the start of the regional playoffs against Marion, Concordia and Iowa. 

In the recent rankings released on Dec. 11, the American Collegiate Hockey Association M2 central division has all three teams ranked above the Blue Demons.   

“I think for us, it’s just keeping it consistent in practice and making sure we’re getting our reps and rest,” said freshman defenseman Liam Farrell. “We have to be ready to go each game.” 

Head coach Dan Wood and his team have had a tougher time playing away from Johnny’s ice house this season. Three of their four losses have been on the road, and with regionals and nationals on neutral ice, DePaul will appear to use the final games to break their struggles. 

Practices throughout the week have allowed DePaul to incorporate newer tactics and strategies to attack teams in different ways. 

“We just have to stick to our systems,” Mannarino said. “We’ve been working on new things in practice, like the neutral zone trap, working on the defensive zone a little more on special teams and it turns out it’s been working.” 

Getting hot at the right time might be the success for a deep run into regionals, and hopefully, nationals. DePaul has been able to get key players back from injury, strengthening its depth and filling roles the team once missed at the beginning of the season. 

Senior defenseman Eric Koetting said the team’s success has come a long way and the high-scoring offense has done much to build chemistry. 

“I think really moving the puck, we are a team that has a lot of speed,” Koetting said. “That has been something that has helped us, because we play lots of bigger teams, but being faster always beats those bigger teams.” 

The Blue Demons regional play will begin on Feb. 24 and conclude on the 26. Seedings have yet to be finalized, but DePaul could be eying at a top-10 finish in the central division. 

If DePaul is fortunate enough to move on and qualify for the nationals, they will begin on March 17-21. This season, the ACHA National Championship will be in Marlborough, Massachusetts at the New England Sports Center.