REISTERSTOWN, Md. — The United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) Pat Thompson Trophy is coming home to Elmira. With a 3-0 shutout victory over second-seeded Stevenson University (12-3-0), the fourth-seeded Elmira College men’s ice hockey team (10-4-1) secured the 2021 UCHC title and the program’s 11th conference championship.
The theme of today’s title contest was defense, just as it has been throughout the postseason for the Soaring Eagles. Chris Janzen ’21 turned away 29 shots to preserve the shutout and secure the UCHC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player. He ended the three-game title run with a sultry 0.27 goals-against average, 122 saves, two shutouts, and just one goal allowed.
Amplifying EC’s efforts on the defensive end of the puck was a willingness to block shots. The Soaring Eagles dove all over the ice, putting their bodies in harm’s way, to block shot after shot. In total, Elmira finished with 14.
Bailey Krawczyk ’24 produced two of Elmira’s goals this evening, completing another terrific outing for the freshman standout. After scoring the game-winner in triple overtime against Utica College, Krawczyk scored on the power play and shorthanded on an empty net. His power-play tally was the title-clincher.
Shawn Kennedy ’24 netted an even-strength goal, one scored in the second period that padded EC’s lead at 2-0. Janis Vizbelis ’24, Daniel Dimon ’24, Chance Gorman ’24, Jared Smith ’24 Marty Kapoian ’22, and Graham Denomme ’23 were credited with assists on EC’s goals.
In the first period, Krawczyk picked up right where he left off early in the championship game as the Elmira, New York, native scored on the power play at 3:51 to give the Soaring Eagles a 1-0 lead.
On a rush, passes from Dimon and Vizbelis found Krawczyk in the slot. The rookie forward wasted little time before snapping a wrist shot past Stevenson’s Ryan Kenny for the game-opening tally.
EC nearly doubled its lead on a 3-on-1 rush at the 8:30 mark, but the shot from Larry Niland ’23 in the slot was kicked away at the last second by Kenny.
Stevenson’s best scoring chance in the first period came from Eric Olson at 15:40. Olson beat an EC defenseman on the right side of the ice before racing towards Janzen. However, the EC netminder was up for the challenge as he stuffed Olson’s shot on the right post.
In the second period, Elmira killed two Stevenson power plays thanks to a solid defensive effort by the PK unit and Janzen. On the PK, Janzen made four saves while his teammates – Jordan Gonzalez ’24, Kapoian and Niland – sacrificed their bodies and made a block.
Although the Mustangs came out of the second intermission with great urgency, it was Elmira that had the better scoring chances and eventually broke through for the goal.
Just as an EC power play ended, Kennedy cushioned Elmira’s lead, 2-0, at 15:01. A pass from Gorman to Smith on the left post created space in the slot, which allowed him to center a pass. Kennedy, who was crashing the net on the play, settled the puck with his boot before whipping it through the five-hole for the goal.
With a two-goal lead in the third period, Elmira tightened up defensively and frustrated Stevenson with an aggressive forecheck. Each time a puck was touched, an Elmira defenseman was close by.
However, at 3:40, the Mustangs had a golden opportunity to cut into the Elmira lead. An errant pass in EC’s attacking zone leaked into the neutral area, setting Chad Watt up for a 1-on-1 with Janzen. Watt carried it just outside the crease but his wrist shot sprayed wide as Stevenson remained in search of its first goal.
At the five-minute mark, Anthony Russo ’23 nearly gave Elmira a three-goal lead as his shot rattled off of the pipe.
Then, at 16:22, EC was whistled for a penalty and the Mustangs’ power-play unit took to the ice. Instead of skating 5-on-4, Stevenson pulled Kenny from net to skate 6-on-4 in hopes of closing the gap.
The extra attacker did little to aid Stevenson’s comeback bid, as Krawczyk slid in an empty-netter, shorthanded, at 17:03 to extend the Purple and Gold’s lead to 3-0.
Krawczyk’s tally, along with a bevy of blocks and saves in the final 2:57, carried the Soaring Eagles to the finish line to secure Elmira’s 11th conference title in program history.
UCHC All-Tournament Team
Most Valuable Player:
Chris Janzen, Elmira
Bailey Krawczyk, Elmira
Chance Gorman, Elmira
Austin Master, Stevenson
Jordan Gonzalez, Elmira
Blake Colman, Stevenson
Ryan Kenny, Stevenson
News and Notes
- Elmira won the 2021 UCHC conference title.
- EC secured the UCHC Pat Thompson Trophy for the first time.
- The Soaring Eagles won their 11th conference title in program history.
- It marked the first time in program history EC has won a conference title in shutout fashion.
- Elmira won its first conference title since 2013-14.
- Head Coach Aaron Saul ’98 won his third conference championship (2021, 2014, 2010).
- Elmira played in its first conference title game since 2018.
- EC won its first UCHC league title.
- Elmira is the lowest seed (4th) to win the UCHC title.
- Stevenson played in its first conference title game.
- Elmira outshot Stevenson, 31-29.
- Elmira was 1-for-4 on the power play.
- Stevenson was 0-for-4 on the power play.
- Janzen was named the UCHC Tournament’s MVP.
- Janzen allowed just one goal the entire UCHC playoffs.
- Krawczyk scored game-winner, power-play, and shorthanded goals.
- Krawczyk scored his second game-winning goal in as many days.