Senior goaltender Ethan Siderine earned his first career shutout in a 1-0 Division I crossover hockey win for the Rome Free Academy Black Knights Tuesday night at home against Fayetteville-Manlius.
The Knights scored late in the first period on a power play then held off the Hornets as Siderine stopped all 25 shots he faced.
The hosts were on the power play for just seven seconds when with one minute and 23 seconds left in the first period Danny Mecca capped off the play with a point shot that found the back of the net. The team was up a man after F-M was penalized for having too many men on the ice. Sophomore forwards Griffin Eychner and Kyle Lubey were credited with assists on the goal by the junior defenseman.
Siderine was tested often, including a shorthanded breakaway in the second period. F-M’s Mikkal Toia intercepted a pass attempt on an RFA power play and took the puck in on a breakaway, but Siderine flashed his glove hand and snared the shot to keep RFA ahead.
The Hornets’ other prime chance also came while shorthanded, when with a minute and 56 seconds left in the final period RFA gave up an odd man rush. But again Siderine gloved a shot, this one from Mike Hockenberger.
RFA stifled a late push by the visitors, who had pulled their goalie to pressure the Knights with six attackers. With 30 seconds left, Eychner raced out to the point to block a shot and RFA held out for the win.
“It was fun,” said Siderine after the game. “I had to really work for it. My defense was phenomenal,” blocking a number of shots, he noted. “They’re a tough team and relentless,” but he said he “stood tall.” The key, he said, was getting the early lead he could then protect. “It gave me confidence.”
RFA head coach Jason Nowicki said Siderine was “on top of his game tonight.” He said the senior had a strong week of practice and was mentally prepared.
“Tonight we worked really hard,” said Nowicki. “They deserved that win with how hard they worked. F-M is a pretty good team” with a skilled offense. The Hornets put pressure on his team in the second period, he said, though “we bent but didn’t break.”
The key, he said, “was coming out strong in the first (period).” The last three games especially, he said, that’s been the reason for success. The Knights held a strong Syracuse team off the scoreboard for more than 20 minutes to start the game thought they fell 5-0, then beat Fulton 7-1 before taking down F-M. The team is 2-1-1 in its last four games.
Nowicki said the game that was close all night was the perfect example of what he signed up for. “This is why I’m here, games like this.” It was tight, it was a challenge, he said. These games show “what we’re made of.”
Siderine picked up his second win of the season.
Hornets goalie James Kaffenbereger stopped 14 of 15 shots in the loss.
RFA moves to 3-6-2 overall, and has a 1-4-1 record in the Division I National standings. The team travels to Fulton for a 6 p.m. start Thursday.
Fayetteville-Manlius drops to 5-4-2 overall and is 1-2-2 in the Division I American standings. The team hosts Liverpool at 6 p.m. Friday.