Tech Defeats WPI 9-3 In NECHA Play, Runs Season Record to 5-0

Forward Ryan W. Ballentine ’09 scored two goals and added three assists to help MIT ease past Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 9-3, in NorthEast Collegiate Hockey Association action on Friday night at the NorthStar Youth Forum. With the victory, the Engineers moved to 5-0-0, marking the second consecutive year in which the Cardinal and Gray has won its first five games of the season.

Tech’s leading scorer, Nicholas R. LaBounty ’09, contributed a goal and three assists to push his season total to 15 points on seven goals and eight helpers, while Michael C. Kozlowski ’08 found the back of the net three times. The hat trick doubled Kozlowski’s goal total to six on the campaign.

In what started as a thrilling back-and-forth affair, each team traded goals throughout the opening period. Ballentine gave MIT the lead just 49 seconds into the contest, converting feeds from LaBounty and Ian M. Rousseau ’10, but WPI (1-4-0) responded less than three minutes later when Andy Capulli provided the assist for Nate Roy’s equalizer.

Ballentine turned provider with 4:45 gone in the first period, assisting LaBounty’s goal to restore Tech’s lead at 2-1. However, the hosts would respond once again just 40 seconds later, as Tim Stalmok finished a feed from Dan Distler.

The Engineers regained the lead for good halfway through the opening period when Bradley T. Holschuh G scored unassisted.

Kozlowski notched his first goal of the night courtesy of a Jeremy D. Myers ’08 pass 10:37 into the second period, while Cory F. Phinney ’11 scored his first intercollegiate goal on a power-play with 57 seconds left to extend MIT’s lead to 5-2. Ballentine and LaBounty each picked up assists on the rookie’s strike.

The Cardinal and Gray secured another goal on the man-advantage less than 30 seconds into the third period, as Kozlowski scored thanks to feeds from Ballentine and Myers. WPI cut the lead to 6-3 one minute later, with Stalmok and Mike Pagonis providing the assists for Mike Parzych’s goal, but it was as close as the hosts would get. Kozlowski (unassisted) and Ballentine (from LaBounty and Rousseau) made it 8-3 before defenseman Stephen T. Payne ’08 recorded his first goal of the year, with the lone assist credited to Vladimir Sobes ’11.

Stephen L. Yablonski ’11 stopped 18 shots in net en route to earning his second consecutive win for MIT, while Jeff Walker made 35 saves for WPI.

The Engineers face Bryant University on Friday, Dec. 7 in an away game at 7 p.m.