Jan. 17, 2009

FREDONIA, N.Y. – The first collegiate goal of freshman Evan Michalchuk (Edmonton, Alberta) turned out to be the game-winner as the Manhattanville men’s hockey team, ranked 11th in this week’s USCHO.com Div. III national poll, extended its winning streak to 10 games with a 2-0 victory over Fredonia State University in non-conference action on Friday night at Steele Hall.

With the win, Manhattanville moved to 8-0-2 in its last 10 games, matching the 2005-06 squad for the third-longest unbeaten streak in program history. The next step for the Valiants would be to challenge the 14-game unbeaten streak of the 2004-05 team, which went 14-0-0 during that stretch.

Sophomore netminder Sergiy Sorokolat (Kharkiv, Ukraine) recorded his second consecutive shutout and third in the last four games for Manhattanville, stopping all 17 shots he faced on the evening. Michalchuk and senior Chris Trafford (Kinburn, Ontario) recorded the goals for the Valiants in the victory.

“I thought we gave a pretty good effort tonight; we did what we had to do to win a hockey game,” Valiant head coach Keith Levinthal said after the game. “I was particularly pleased with the efforts of [freshman] Owen Chatwin, [senior co-captain] Chris Galiotti and Sergiy Sorokolat.”

Chatwin (St. Albert, Alberta) was excellent in the faceoff circle for Manhattanville on the evening, winning 12 of his 13 draws. Galiotti (Rochester, N.Y.), meanwhile, played a key role in the Valiant defense that limited Fredonia to only 17 shots on goal and few solid scoring opportunities.

For the game, Manhattanville held a 32-17 advantage in shots on goal, as the visitors consistently kept the puck in the offensive zone and forced Fredonia netminder Kody Van Rentergem to make 30 saves.

Michalchuk’s first collegiate goal gave Manhattanville a 1-0 lead with 6:21 remaining in the first period. The freshman intercepted a Blue Devil clearing attempt just inside the blue line and walked in from the right point before snapping a quick wrist shot high to the glove side to beat Van Rentergem.

The lead remained one through the second period and into the third before Trafford found the net for the sixth time this season at the 6:46 mark. Soon after a Valiant power-play concluded, junior A.J. Mikkelsen (Chestermere, Alberta) took a hard shot from the blue line that caromed right to Trafford at back post for an easy put away. Junior co-captain Arlen Marshall (Quill Lake, Saskatchewan) also recorded the second assist on the goal, giving Marshall a team-best nine helpers on the year.

Despite the 15-shot edge, however, the Valiants still had some trouble generating solid scoring opportunities against the Blue Devils.

“We still continue to struggle offensively,” Levinthal said. “I will continue to plead for our players to use quicker releases and attack the net more aggressively. For some reason we still believe that slow releases from the perimeter with no one going to the net is the most effective way to score.”

The Valiant penalty kill continues to improve, however, increasing its consecutive kill streak to 23 after holding Fredonia scoreless on two man-up chances. Conversely, the team’s power-play unit also went 0-for-2 and is now five for its last 45.

Manhattanville (9-2-2, 3-2-1 ECAC West) and Fredonia State (4-8-3, 2-4-2 SUNYAC) will return to the ice tomorrow at 3 p.m. to conclude its two-game weekend series.