First Row (L-R) Matt Domyancic, Bucky Holt, Rich Sadlowski, Matt Ward, RJ Williams
Second Row (L-R) Coach Denny Brunetta, Pat Bates, Joe Manning, Phil Ivkovich
Back Row (L-R) Coach Mike Ziemianski, Tony Duco, Dave Glunt, Dave Ulishney, Matt Ball, Tim Legath, Josh Kearns, Chris Craft, Adam Petrovich, Brandon Skoogland, Jimmy Mandel, Craig Dolan, Chris McDonald, Coach Vince Kadlubek
“Do More with Less”
“Overtime Playoff Loss”
The start of the 2006-2007 season put the team in a precarious position. As a result of transfers, eligibility, and injuries, significant players from the previous year were not available for most all of the games in the first semester. Yet, the team seemed to have two outstanding lines and the formation of a solid third checking unit. With a strong recruiting class the season before, few freshmen were brought into the program to avoid having more players than the squad could reasonably dress for games. However, the addition of a strong two way defenseman, Tim Legath, skilled forward Jim Mandel, and feisty Greensburg Central Catholic winger Dave Ulishney added some depth at the skating positions. The team was also able to land freshman goalie Rich Sadlowski to challenge junior Bucky Holt in between the pipes.
The first line started with power forward Jordan Miller centering one of CHE’s all time snipers, Matt Ward and finisher Chris McDonald. Meanwhile the second unit was anchored by centerman Dave Glunt who was paired with a tenacious two way player Craig Dolan and newcomer Jim Mandel. The checking line was manned by Phil Ivkovich, a Selke type checker with senior Brandon Skoogland and freshman Dave Ulishney. Mike Cochrane was hoping for a comeback from a disappointing 2005-2006 campaign that forced him to miss most of the year with a nagging high ankle sprain. And Chris Craft was returning for a final campaign.
Unlike the forward lines however, the defense seemed to have added depth from the previous year. Early practices validated that Tim Legath would be a real force in the league. Matt Domyancic and Tony Duco were more than solid. Jason Seidling would be counted on for his consistent stay at home approach. Duquesne University transfer R.J. Williams was a strong puck handler and Sean Kasonovich was ready to assume a greater role as a sophomore. Pat Bates had all-star potential and it was hoped that Matt Miller would continue to progress after a solid 2005-2006.
The team lost Matt Rose and Dave D’Incau to other schools and Joe Ring to the U.S. Marines. Meanwhile Josh Kearns, Matt Ball, Joe Manning and Adam Petrovich would not be ready or able to play until the second semester.
The season started typically for the historically offensive minded Polarbearcats. With less than a minute into a power play in the first game, Dave Glunt scored a power play goal from the point in a 16-1 steamrolled win over CMU. Mike Cochrane netted his first collegiate talley and neither Bucky Holt nor Rich Sadlowski were tested in goal.
Over the next three games, SVC continued to dominate. Edinboro and Case proved to be tougher opponents than CMU but eventually the scores ended well in favor of the Green and Gold. Gettysburg College fell next, though they were an excellent match for SVC and had a very strong showing making the game much closer than the final 8-4 score would indicate. At 4-0-0 St. Vincent was apparently too sure of itself and was taken by surprise by a very tough Monmouth University squad. The New Jersey team quickly jumped on the Polarbearcats and raced to a 4-1 lead. Unaccustomed to playing from behind, there was an ugly mood in the locker room after the first period, but the players were committed to using the remaining 40 minutes to their advantage. Jordan Miller brought SVC to within two goals before the visiting blue Monmouth squad rebuilt the lead to a three goal differential. But then the SVC scoring machine opened its guns as Matt Ward got on the board, Chris McDonald tallied his second of the match, and Jimmy Mandel closed the frame with a tally. Monmouth was stunned. Although they notched two power play scores in the third, SVC countered with two of its own power play goals as Jordan Miller and Mandel added to the score sheet. Matt Ward ended with the game winner and Brandon Skoogland made sure the coffin was nailed shut with SVC’s 9’th goal set up by Phil Ivkovich. It was a signature come from behind statement.
Penn State Altoona was an easy 8-3 victory in the next game that sent a 5-0-0 team on an Eastern week-end road trip to Maryland. In the Friday night game, SVC ran into outstanding goaltending at Johns Hopkins University. Although dominating play, SVC again found itself trailing after the first frame by a 3-1 margin. In spite of a 23-4 shot advantage, St. Vincent could only manage on goal in the second period as Matt Ward put his second puck of the night into the opposing team’s net. The team knew it would have to pick up the intensity in the third period and after Matt Ward finished his hat trick, Jordan Miller slammed in two more to finally seal a 5-3 “W”. The following day would not prove to be as successful. Although playing even with Loyola for most of the game, SVC could not finish its plays and goal tending could not hold up for the lack of scoring. SVC had its first loss and came home with a 6-1-0 record.
The malaise continued into the next game, a big showdown with #1 ranked California University of Pennsylvania. SVC was completely outplayed in the first period being outshot by a 20-8 margin and outscored at 4-1. Although the Green and Gold played much better in the second period, tightening the shots to 13 for and 15 against, 5 goals were surrendered to only a single tally by Matt Ward. Intending on proving that they could play with the Vulcans, the 3’rd period was all SVC, but the 20-9 shot and 3-1 goal advantage was not enough to close the gap as the team dropped its second game in a row.
Traveling away to Johnstown to face the Ice Cats of UPJ proved to be a real challenge. Several games earlier, Sean Kasonovich decided to quit the team to take care of a nagging foot injury. Then, as a result of an on campus altercation, one of the teams leading players and assistant captain Jordan Miller was suspended. In spite of appeals on his behalf he was unavailable to the team for an indefinite period of time in a rush to judgment by the administration. It forced the coaching staff to significantly re-juggle the lines. Craig Dolan was moved to center on the first unit with Mike Cochrane and Phil Ivkovich moved to the flanks of Dave Glunt. With Jimmy Mandel unavailable for the game due to a family commitment, Jason Seidling was moved form defense to wing for the match. It With only three lines and 5 “D”, the short SVC bench see sawed back and forth the entire game with UPJ. It was a signature contest for Chris McDonald as he led the way with a career high 4 goal performance. When Craig Dolan tallied the 8’th SVC score of the game with less than two minutes to play, the team made it stand up and walked away with a heart throbbing 8-7 win to move the season record to 8-2-0.
SVC had one more game against Pitt before the CHE MET showcase; a tournament pitting top teams from College Hockey East against the New York Metropolitan League. Pitt could not stop the offensive power of the top line of McDonald, Ward and Dolan as the trio netted six goals and 10 assists. Although defense and goaltending were still question marks, Pitt could not respond to the 47 shot 9 goal outburst. With another power play goal by Jimmy Mandel, an even strength tally by Phil Ivkovich, Mike Cochrane was credited with the game winning goal on a power play early in the third frame.
Saint Vincent faced off against Hofstra in the first game of the CHE MET showcase. Hofstra was completely dominated by the Latrobe team, but incredible goal tending provided the New York squad with a 3-2 lead after two periods in spite of a 39 to 20 shot advantage for the Bearcats and two spectacular goals by Matt Ward. The dominance continued in the third period but finally Craig Dolan put the puck behind the Hofstra goalie to draw the game even. Coach Ziemianski shortened the bench to two lines in a furious effort to finally gain the lead and gave his classic “Don’t make me get creative speech.” Giving Matt Ward a rest, he called #81, Mike Cochrane to join Craig Dolan and Dave Glunt and in a scramble in front of the net, Cochrane spun around and tucked the puck 5 hole for his second consecutive game winner. The final: SVC 4 Hofstra 3 with a 56 to 30 advantage in shots.
In the next match against Fairfield Connecticut, the team came out flat and found itself down by a 2-0 margin. Although Dolan and McDonald put in two goals in the second and SVC turned in a 19-9 advantage in shots, the team was down 5-2. With another furious effort in the third, the team fell one goal short of tying the game and ended on the downside of 6-5 mark.
The second semester ended with a victory over Penn State Behrend when SVC outgunned the Lions by a 9-2 margin. In spite of not having several key players and losing Jordan Miller, the team showed tremendous character as it ended the term with an 11-3-0 mark.
Two more players would be lost from the first semester squad. Mike Cochrane, who was gaining valuable playing time on the power play and scored two game winning goals, would not be eligible. Matt Miller enrolled in the Navy. He proved to be a huge loss in the second term. Although Coach Ziemianski started him on wing, as the season progressed Matt positioned himself as one of the team’s top defenders and became a huge asset on the penalty kill and against opposing team’s top lines. But SVC was picking up three potential All Stars in Matt Ball, Joe Manning and Adam Petrovich. Additionally, Pat Bates began playing again in the latter half of the first term and additional depth was added when Josh Kearns again pulled on the sweater.
In a strange contest the first game back, WVU took St. Vincent to overtime before Matt Ward ended the game on an assist by Jason Seidling in spite of an incredible 60 to 26 shot advantage. The next several games proved to be extremely frustrating for St. Vincent.
With the new players, SVC faced off against Cal in a key match up for first place. The Green and Cold dominated the Cal team, but starter Bucky Holt gave up 6 goals on only 13 Vulcan shots. Replacement Rich Sadlowski faired a little better but Cal scored twice more. SVC dropped the game by an 8-4 score in spite of holding a 45 to 32 shot advantage. The squad seemed to rebound against UPJ. When Coach Ziemianski gave Rich Sadlowski the nod and he blanked the Ice Cats 6-0 and both Joe Manning and Matt Ball each scored twice, it was hoped that the corner was turned.
. A similar disappointment was felt in the next contest when an extremely poorly officiated game against Robert Morris saw SVC drop a 5-4 decision. RMU could only score on the power play and the referee game them every opportunity as St. Vincent had an incredible 8 minor penalties called against them in the 3’rd period while RMU had but two. The problems continued in the next two games as incredibly the team dropped consecutive shoot out losses to IUP and Penn State Altoona. St. Vincent had only one more game to right its ship before the CHE playoffs. Although never trailing, CCAC grudgingly held on through a 6-4 SVC “W”.
SVC’s first opponent in the CHE playoffs was Penn State Behrend. SVC never trailed. A hat trick by Matt Ward and single tallies by Craig Dolan and Matt Ball combined with outstanding defensive play by Pat Bates and Tim Legath supported a very solid shutout performance by Rich Sadlowski. But a poor call by official Dave Donatelli would prove critical to SVC. In the second period of what had become a clear win for SVC, a PSB player dropped his gloves and started throwing punches at SVC star forward Matt Ball. Even though Matt never dropped his gloves and only raised his hands in defense, he was given a 5 minute penalty and a game misconduct. Coach Ziemianski was furious and loudly protested the call. The officials insisted that Ball would only be gone for the rest of the PSB game. But at the end of the contest a misunderstood and miscommunicated NCAA rule would force Matt to sit the most important game of the year; the semi final playoff contest against Cal.
It proved to be a classic match. Based on his showing against PSB, Rich Sadlowski was given the starting assignment and Coach Ziemianski moved McDonald back with Dolan and Ward on the first unit. Petrovich and Glunt would flank Joe Manning with Phil Ivkovich centering Mandel and Ulishney. Kearns, Skoogland and Craft made up the other forward line. Defensive pairings for the match were Legath and Seidling, Duco and Williams and Bates and Domyancic.
Sadlowski picked up where he left off in goal. Craig Dolan joined the 20 goal club with a late first period score from Bates and Petrovich and St. Vincent held a 1-0 lead going into the locker room. Cal turned the tables in period number two and a nail biter was in the making with a 1-1 tie after two. Cal scored two early goals in the third period and it looked bleak for SVC. In seemed even worse when Cal put their powerful power play unit back on the ice with Jason Seidling uncharacteristically in the penalty box. But SVC was not done. In a smart defensive zone play, Matt Domyancic was able to move the puck to slick skating Dave Glunt. Within an instant he spotted Joe Manning breaking up ice. He nailed him with a tape to tape pass as Joe exploded passed a surprised an flat footed Cal defense. It was a break-a-way score for #96. It was only a few minutes later when deja vue struck again. This time, however, Mandel was in the penalty box. An aggressive forecheck by Craig Dolan forced Cal to cough up the puck. Again Joe Manning pounced and scored! The third period ended even as each team scored twice and had 15 shots apiece.
In a heart break, the game ended too quickly for Saint Vincent. Ward, Dolan, Petrovich, Bates and Domyancic were unable to clear the puck from the zone. Cal threw an innocent shot from a bad angle on the net. The final in overtime was Cal 4 SVC 3. And the question will always remain…what if Matt Ball had been able to play?
It was hoped that Saint Vincent would make another serious run at a National Tournament for 2006-2007 and the recruiting efforts of the previous year should have positioned the team for a far better record than 15-7-2. The team did prove itself in the playoffs however, as the one squad who could truly challenge Cal for league dominance, but the overtime shootout losses and dropping other games to IUP and RMU earlier in the year took the Green and Gold out of the running for a National Tournament Bid. Clearly, Cal was not challenged by IUP in the finals as it easily dismantled the Indiana school in two quick games. Unfortunately, Cal fell apart early in Nationals and had a disappointing finish in the tournament, perhaps as disappointing for them as the regular season had been for the Bearcats.
It was not that the year did not have some bright spots. Matt Ward again scored more highlight goals than there was disk space on the video equipment to record. (Although there were ONLY 46 of them!) Craig Dolan exploded offensively and joined the rare 20 goal club to go along with his tenacious two way play. Chris McDonald sniped the back of the net 17 times. Tim Legath, as a freshman, set a new scoring record for defensemen with 8 goals and 22 assists, shattering the 24 point mark shared by both T.J. Drake and Mike Ziemianski. Phil Ivkovich and Dave Ulishney were incredible shot blockers and penalty killers. Jimmy Mandel displayed some real skill. Dave Glunt emerged as a potential all star play maker and was called on to man the point on the power play for much of the season. Matt Ball regained his form and emerged as perhaps the most complete two way player in College Hockey East. The two shorthanded goals by Joe Manning against Cal and his effortless ability to move the puck were wondrous images. Cochrane’s goal against Hofstra should always be in the SVC all time top 10 key scores. Jordan Miller was on pace for a 30 goal season. Tony Duco had regained all star form… Matt Domyancic handcuffed goalies with an incredibly strong wrist shot. Adam Petrovich not only could score, but he could put people through doors with his checks. No one could clear the puck from the defensive zone better than Pat Bates. Matt Miller left for the Navy too soon. He too was an emerging star on the blue line with his speed and tenacity. Skoogland punctuated his year with a huge coffin goal against Monmouth and solidified the third line. Jason Seidling was again the quiet man on defense and played with remarkable consistency. R.J. Williams played himself into a defensive regular, earned time on the point during power plays and displayed some amazingly adept stick handling. Chris Craft added to his legend with a second career goal. Sean Kasonovich, in spite of reduced playing time and an injury was a positive influence when he played. And Josh Kearns made it possible to have the depth necessary to field a winning team with his ability to work hard on the ice without taking penalties. Bucky Holt added nicely to his SVC record posting an 8-3-1 mark while Rich Sadlowski became a solid playoff goalie and was the first SVC net minder to record two shut outs in the same season since Ken Glinka in the 1973-1974 campaign. And Coach Ziemianski and GM Holowaty notched team win number 100 against Johns Hopkins University.
Matt Ward, Craig Dolan, Chris McDonald, Tim Legath and Bucky Holt were all nominated for and played in the CHE All Star game. Tony Duco and Dave Glunt also received nominations from the coaching staff but were not selected by the Cal Coach. Interestingly enough, however, as a result of a misadventure, when one of the South All Stars failed to show for the game and with the league unable to contact Glunt as the next player on the list to play, Matt Domyancic dressed for the match and had an excellent accounting of his ability. Not to be outdone, and with some lobbying by Coach Ziemianski to add an assist to his scoring, Matt Ward bested all other players with game MVP honors, following in the footsteps of another SVC player, Jordan Spallone, who also took that honor in the 2002-2003 all star game.
The team was co-captained by Matt Ward and Craig Dolan, while Chris McDonald and Jordan Miller took on the roles of Assistant Captains. Matt Ward was given the William Vance MVP Award. Craig Dolan received the Andy Vahaly Team Spirit trophy for his second consecutive year. The Al Reinshagen Award, equivalent to the NHL’s Lady Bing, given to the player who best represents the team along with a high level of play went to Tim Legath. The Fr. Herman Ubinger Award for unsung hero went to Jason Seidling who did nothing more than provide a solid four years of blue line play, would volunteer when needed as a forward and who during his entire tenure with the team was nothing other than a positive influence to his teammates both on and off the ice. Finally, the Coaches Award, given to the player who performs to the utmost of their capabilities was well earned by Chris McDonald.
Fair well to the seniors: #6, Matt Ward. #19, Craig Dolan. #28 Brandon Skoogland. #58 Jason Seidling. #7 Chris Craft.