ANNAPOLIS, MD (September 18, 2009) -- Navy's ice hockey team jumped out to a 4-1 lead and held on to defeat Lehigh, 4-3, Friday night before a crowd of 325 at the McMullen Hockey Arena. It was the first game of the 2009-10 season for both teams.
The Midshipmen and Ice Hawks will meet again Saturday night in Annapolis at 7:30 p.m.
Navy picked up single goals from four different players en route to the victory. Sophomore goaltender Jameson Marshall stopped 28 of the 31 Lehigh shots he faced, including 25 over the final two periods, and was awarded the game puck by the Navy coaching staff for his efforts.
The Mids' first goal of the new season came 8:56 into the first period off the stick of senior assistant captain Keegan Kinkade while Navy was on the power play, assists going to classmate Patrick Heitman and sophomore Kevin Frederick. It was Kinkade's fourth goal of his USNA career; the three previous tallies all came during the 2007-08 season.
Navy increased its lead to 2-0 less than a minute later with an even strength goal from sophomore Tom Fick, assisted by sophomore Gary Beier, at 9:44.
Sophomore Mitch Pulver recorded the Mids' second power play tally of the game 3:31 into the second stanza, assisted by Fick and senior Calen Mims, to put Navy ahead, 3-0. Lehigh then got its first goal of the night from Casey Castignetti at 13:33, while the Ice Hawks were enjoying a power play, to trim the Navy lead to 3-1.
The Midshipmen answered back quickly, getting an even strength goal at 14:44 from junior Sam Carlson to go back up by three, 4-1. Fick picked up the lone assist.
But instead of putting the game out of reach in the third period, Navy uncharacteristically had to hold on for dear life. The Ice Hawks took advantage of the Mids' eighth minor penalty of the contest to register a power play goal off the stick of Tom Young at 7:14. Just over four minutes later, at 11:43, Lehigh closed within one at 4-3 when Ben Softy slipped the puck past Marshall while the teams were at even strength.
Energized by those two tallies and two more Navy penalties, the Ice Hawks pressed for the tying goal but were unable to put the puck behind Navy's 6'0" netminder Marshall again. The Mids outshot Lehigh overall, 42-31, but that 11-shot difference was the result of the first period when Navy enjoyed a 14-3 shot advantage. Over the final two periods, the shots were even at 28 apiece.
Ice Hawk goaltender Chris Langstaff recorded 38 saves. Navy was whistled for 10 minor penalties, Lehigh for seven.
"I was proud of the guys tonight for getting that first win of the season," said third year Navy head coach Mike Fox following the game. "We had some lapses and took too many penalties, especially at the end of the second period and in the third period. We'll learn from that and get better. We have to come out Saturday night like we did in the first period and at the start of the second period tonight. We know Lehigh will be ready for us, so we need to be ready for them."
N - Kinkade 1 (Heitman, Frecerick) 8:56 PP
N - Fick 1 (Beier) 9:44
N - Pulver 1 (Mims, Fick) 3:31 PP
L - Castignetti (Lewis) 13:33 PP
N - Carlson 1 (Fick) 14:44
L - Young (Castignetti) 7:14 PP
L - Softy (Castignetti, Lewis) 11:43
Langstaff (Lehigh) 12 - 8 - 18 - 38
Marshall (NAVY) 3 - 13 - 12 - 28