Untimely penalties cost DePaul wins over Concordia UW


Christina Hammersmith

Junior goalie Asher Motew allows a goal against Concordia senior winger Scott Gregor during Friday night’s 5-3 win over the Falcons.

DePaul concluded its final home game of the season Friday night at Johnny’s Ice House against conference foe Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW). Ranked above DePaul in the central division standings, CUW forced a Blue Demons third period collapse leading to a 5-3 loss. 

Emotions and energy in the arena were high, as DePaul celebrated senior night. That energy was quickly sucked out of the building  after Concordia put away two goals in the first period and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. 

“For the seniors it meant everything,” Alexander Kupfer-Weinstein said. “They have been playing hockey for their entire lives and this is their last home game they’d ever play in organized college hockey, so obviously you want to come away with a win.”  

Saturday’s game in Wisconsin had more of the same result. The Falcons went up 4-0 into the second period and it wasn’t until late in the period on a power play that DePaul netted its first goal of the game. 

The Blue Demons stormed back, bringing the game to within one after scoring twice in five minutes to open the third period. 

This was DePaul’s second back-to-back stretch of losses this season and second series sweep of the season. The Blue Demons now sit 19-6, finish with a home record of 14-3 and a significantly worse record on the road at 7-4. 

Friday’s game was highly anticipated following DePaul’s win against Marian where they picked up their first win against the Sabres in program history. 

Concordia came in at 23-6 following wins against Illinois State, and ranked the highest they have been all season at No. 3. 

Senior winger Seth Cohen fights for the puck against a Concordia defender during Friday night’s 5-3 win against the Falcons. (Christina Hammersmith)

Things did not look promising in the first 10 minutes of the first period. DePaul let in two quick goals four minutes apart from each other as the defense looked rattled.

In the final four minutes of the period, senior winger Brock Ash threw a shot towards the net that deflected off the back of a Falcon player, went through the goalie’s legs and resulted in DePaul’s first goal of the game. 

Sophomore Danny Mannarino’s goal in the first 30 seconds of the second period that would have tied the game was taken away after referees stopped play. Defensively, the Blue Demons flipped the script and pitched a shutout. 

DePaul’s penalty kill was effective, killing two power plays, as junior goalie Asher Motew kept his team in the game. 

Mannarino got his goal back late in the second period that tied the game at two. His back hand wrist shot went top shelf knocking off the goalie’s gatorade bottle, as Johnny’s Ice House erupted on senior night. 

Senior captain Jackson Leptich in his final home game at DePaul scored in the first two minutes of the period, giving the Blue Demons its first lead of the game. 

A sequence of back to back DePaul penalties gave Concordia a five-on-three penalty advantage. The Falcons scored at the 7:55 minute on the first five on three penalties, tying the game at three, only to score 15 seconds later during a five-on-four advantage. 

The Falcons had quickly put themselves in control as DePaul scrambled to try and tie the game. 

The Blue Demons committed more unnecessary penalties, only hurting the team’s chance at a comeback. 

“Forget about this game and worry about tomorrow,” freshman defensemen Liam Farrell said. “Tensions were a little high out there tonight so hopefully that doesn’t carry over. Hopefully everybody gets a good night’s rest on our part and we’re ready to go.” 

It has been a rough stretch for DePaul in these last weeks, dropping three out of their last four against rivals, who they might see again come regionals. 

Although a negative outcome, the Blue Demons felt they could take positives from the game, but at the same time, assess what caused them to give up five goals. 

“I mean I thought offensively we dominated ,” junior defensemen Josh Maloney said. “We definitely have to work on fixing our defensive mistakes and our defensive zone.” 

Junior goalie Asher Motew had 43 saves Friday night, but tied his season high with five goals let in. The constant Falcon offensive attack was too much for Motew and his defense. 

Concordia outshot DePaul 48 to 38 and kept the pressure throughout the game on DePaul’s own end. The Blue Demons will conclude the season on Feb. 3 and 4 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, looking to get back in the win column, before the start of regionals start on the weekend of Feb. 25. 

Nationals will begin nearly a month later on March 17-21, in Malborough, Massachusetts at the New England Sports Center, if the Blue Demons are fortunate enough to qualify.