Beber, Wood Power Vandy To OT Thriller In Home Opener

After a nearly seven-month hiatus, the Vanderbilt Commodores returned to the ice this weekend for a matchup with the Florida Gators. Despite the Commodores’ recent success, particularly at home where they boasted a 12-1 record last season in the fantastic new Ford Ice Center, the club has not won a home opener since the 2011-12 season. That changed Sunday as Vandy prevailed in overtime, 4-3.

The first period seemed to be a bit lacking in the energy department for both squads. Vanderbilt did not get off to a very fast start and a Florida team playing its third game of the weekend with only 13 skaters seemed to welcome that opening tempo. Despite some good chances for the Dores, a late Florida goal put the visitors up 1-0 heading into the first intermission. The Commodores responded with a surge in the early second period, but couldn’t break through the Florida defense until freshman Blake Beber stole a puck from a UF defender and beat the goalie for his first career Vanderbilt Hockey goal. Despite falling down on the celebration and generally looking like a freshman, Beber’s goal lit a fire under the Commodores. The teams traded goals in the remainder of the second period, leaving it all tied up at 2 with 20 minutes to go.

“You always hope to get contributions from your new guys, even if you don’t really expect it, so just having him get the goal was great,” noted senior forward and alternate caption Jack Gibbons. “But the way he scored, stripping the defenseman and tucking it on the breakaway was huge. It really got the team back into the game after a sluggish first period.”

In the third, Beber was once again the hero, scoring a goal eight minutes into the period which was assisted by linemates Gibbons and Matt Murphy. As time drew down, the Dores looked to close out the game, but some questionable decisions by the officials, including missed cross checks and punches thrown by the Florida squad, gave the visitors a chance to get back in the game. They took advantage of that opportunity by tying the game up with only 55 seconds left in regulation.

As the teams returned to the ice for a brief overtime period, the Commodores were determined not to let another winnable game slip out of their grasp at the beginning of the season. Defenseman Thomas Wood (Carson) took matters into his own hands by walking the blue line and firing a low wrister into the open far side of the net not even a minute into OT. The bench erupted and mobbed the overtime hero as Vanderbilt won its first home opener in four years.

“It was really great to get a W our first game,” explained Wood, a sophomore from Massachusetts. “We were a little rusty and with Florida having already played a few games they had some good chemistry going. It was looking a little dim after giving up a goal with under a minute left, but thankfully I got a great opportunity right at the start of OT. Dopps screened the goalie well and Longman drew 2 guys so it was a good team play with me simply taking the shot. Couldn’t be happier with the result.”

The Commodores look to take their success on the road this weekend with two games against South Carolina before returning home for the College Hockey Scholar Shootout. As always, keep up with the team on Facebook, Twitter or right here on the website for all information about your favorite team.

Video: The Top 10 Goals from 2014/15 (So Far)

With the season’s calendar winding down and excitement ramping up, it’s a great time to revisit the top 10 goals from 2014/15.

Do you agree with the ranking? Enjoy the highlights and share your thoughts in the comments section below or tweet at the club @VandyIceHockey. We hope to see you at Ford Ice this weekend as the team takes on in-state rival Tennessee at 7:45pm Friday and 3:45pm Saturday. Go ‘Dores and ANCHOR DOWN!

Vanderbilt Wins The I-40 Face-Off, Beats UT 6-2

With state bragging rights and the season series on the line, the Vanderbilt Ice Hockey Club vanquished its instate rival the University of Tennessee Ice Vols 6-2 in the 2014 I-40 Face-Off. The fourth installment of the “Interstate Face-Off Series” hosted by the Commodores, Sunday’s win also marked a bounce back for the club from last year’s thrilling 8-7 overtime loss to Alabama.

Game Recap

Vanderbilt’s top line dazzled in the season finale with junior right wing Daniel Hogue scoring two goals, sophomore left wing Jack Gibbons notching a goal and an assist, and freshman sensation John Longman adding a goal and three assists.

Following a first period UT goal that put the Commodores in an early 1-0 deficit, Longman responded by winning a face-off to himself in the Volunteer zone and snapping a quick shot over the goalie’s shoulder to tie the game. Minutes later, Hogue put Vanderbilt ahead for the first time by wheeling out of the corner and rifling a backhander from the high slot to beat the Vols goalie.

Vanderbilt poured on the pressure, and goals, in the second when Hogue, senior captain Anthony Bilotta, and Gibbons scored to extend the lead to 5-1. Tennessee would cut into the difference with a power play goal in the third following a slashing penalty by freshman Stephen Wei, only to see Bilotta restore the four-goal cushion with a short-handed breakaway goal late in the third.

A generally clean game throughout turned ugly in the third when the Volunteers crashed the net and junior goalie Andrew Keen. The video appears to confirm that the Ice Vols winger fired into the crease with a couple of healthy hacks. Keen responded by popping up and engaging in what doctors call “spirited fisticuffs,” ultimately landing him in the penalty box with a two-minute penalty and a ten-minute misconduct. For his role in the fracas, #44 for Tennessee Nick Weaver received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

Overall, the game proved to be one of Vanderbilt’s best performances of the season. Junior defenseman and club president Greg Kirk shared after the game that “we really wanted to send our seniors out with a win and also win the season series against those guys.” On the performance of the first line, Kirk had nothing but praise. “What can you say, their line scored five of the six goals. They did an amazing job throwing pucks at the net and mucking in the corners. Hats off to those guys.”

Season Honors

Before the game, the Commodores hosted their annual end-of-season banquet and awards ceremony. The honorees included:

  • The Ken “Red” Murphy Most Valuable Player – John Longman (22 goals, 16 assists, +28)
  • Most Outstanding Senior – Alan Leeser (7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points)
  • Most Outstanding Officer – Jack Delehey (2013 Club President)
  • Most Improved Player – Bo Korpman (4 wins including a shutout against rival Georgia)
  • Rookie of the Year – Zach Satin (5 Goals, 5 assists, +19)

In attendance at the event were several special guests who had contributed to the program throughout the season. The team at Penalty Box Radio – Justin Bradford, Big Ben, Stan Laws, and Zach Bryan – as well as newly appointed hockey director for the Ford Ice Center Craig MacDonald joined in the season celebration.

The Offseason Awaits

The I-40 marked the close to the 2013/14 season for the Commodores. With a 9-14-1 record, the boys in black and gold will look forward to riding some second semester momentum into the 2014/15 season in its quest for an SECHC title.

Thanks to everyone for supporting the boys throughout the year and looking forward to seeing everyone at our new club home in 2014/15 – the Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee. Just 19 minutes from campus, the brand new facility should be a game-changer for players and fans alike. We can’t wait to get started!


Giving Thanks For The VU Hockey Community On Turkey Day

Coach Bernstein shares a few notes of thanks and appreciation with the VU Hockey community to kick off the 2013 holiday season.

Dear Vanderbilt Hockey faithful,

As we sit and digest our respective Thanksgiving dinners this evening surrounded by family, friends, and football, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who makes up the Vanderbilt hockey community – parents, coaches, alumni, administrators, fans, volunteers, and especially our players – for all that you do for our program.

In the summer of 2010 I had the serendipitous fortune of responding to a job posting advertising a volunteer coach role with the club. Despite knowing virtually nothing about the team, league, or players, I submitted my name for consideration because I wanted to do two things – (1) rediscover my love for the game, a passion that had been on the shelf for most of my time living in New York City and while attending business school at Vanderbilt, and (2) work with high-performing young people with strong leadership profiles who are aiming for big careers in finance, technology, and other industries.

Fast forward three and a half years later, I can say with absolute certainty that I have fulfilled those goals and then some. My commitment to the program has been one of the great joys of my life and something that I will always look back on with satisfaction and pride. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this special tradition that we have all inherited.

On that note, there are a few things I am thankful for regarding this year’s VU Hockey team that I thought I would use this forum to share. Borrowing a Letterman-esque Top-10 format, here’s the countdown. I am thankful for …

  1. Chick-fil-A. For providing sound nourishment to Vanderbilt hockey players since 1976. Delicious.
  2. Freshman Andrew Dellapina’s musical range. Andrew demonstrated his karaoke prowess by belting out Taylor Swift’s “21” followed immediately by Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid” during a recent road trip. It was like watching a young Brenden Oliver (VUH ’12) in action.
  3. The silky smooth skill of Mr. Zach Satin. It is the rare hockey player who can make a spin-o-rama look like a pirouette while having his teammates cheer him on in awe from the bench.
  4. The referees overlooking an untold number of elbows and cross-checks by freshman defenseman Nick “The Hulk” Honkala. This in addition to the ones they did call. Yes, there were a lot of penalties, but as Mickey Andrews said of his 1990s Florida State football defenses, “You gotta live on the edge sometimes.” Nick, keyword in that statement: “sometimes.”
  5. Learning a lesson about underestimating an opponent. Heading into our Saturday game versus Life University, the boys assumed we would be playing a lesser team in the second of three tilts of our weekend trip. Well, as is often the case with assumptions, we ran into a buzz saw versus Life (a graduate university for chiropractic students). I distinctly remember watching their players enter the facility and thinking, “My God, these guys are men!” The thrashing we took in that third period will stick with the boys and me for quite a while.
  6. Club President Jack Delehey organizing the club’s first merchandising campaign. Thanks to the help of the chronically injured yet endlessly positive four-year starter, scores of Vanderbilt hockey fans and players across the globe will be outfitted with officially licensed VU hockey “swag” come Christmas time. Interested in scoring your own gear? Email Jack (, he’ll take care of you.1412490_755731234440769_2086871938_o
  7. Goalie Bo Korpman having the opportunity to take a face-off, log his first road win, and notch his first ever shutout, all in the same weekend. As part of the Georgia Tech club’s “Lt Tyler Brown Night” which honored a GT alumnus who was killed in Iraq in 2004, Bo gladly agreed to take the ceremonial face-off on behalf of Vanderbilt. He then proceeded to shut out GT for 55 minutes en route to a 5-1 victory. He followed that with a Sunday shut-out versus Georgia 4-0.
  8. John Longman’s laser in overtime versus the Florida Gators. In a must-win game versus a top-10 team and SEC East rival, freshman John Longman concluded a virtuoso performance in regulation by rifling a slap shot home from the blue line just 14 seconds into overtime to seal the victory.
  9. Our amazing coaches. Coach Holston, Coach Kanouff, and the newest addition to our staff Coach Rice have been the linchpins for the club’s organization and success this season. I have appreciated everything that these guys volunteer in terms of enthusiasm, passion, and general knowledge about the game. The boys and I are lucky to have them aboard.

And the number one thing I am thankful for from the Fall 2013 semester …

  1. Support from the Nashville hockey community. We are so blessed to be in a hotbed of hockey enthusiasm and support. (Yes folks from the Northeast and Midwest, people are rabid about the game in these parts!) We are enormously thankful for our friends at Penalty Box Radio (@PenaltyBoxRadio) who have covered the team’s latest updates (thanks Stan!), managed our public address responsibilities at games (thanks Justin!), and tended to injured players (thanks Big Ben!). We’d also like to thank Pete Weber (@PeteWeberSports), a luminary figure in the Nashville hockey community who has been nice enough to support our efforts from the very first meeting of our 2013/14 season. Finally, we’d like to thank Andee Boiman and her team at the Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) for helping us build towards a more sustainable future for our program. (More on this to follow in next year’s message … !)

It remains my tremendous pleasure to interact with the players, coaches, administrators, volunteers, parents, and every other person associated with this great organization. On behalf of my wife Betsy (a.k.a., Mrs. Coach) and me, have a happy remainder of your Thanksgiving holiday and a wonderful 2013 holiday season. We look forward to making 2014 a phenomenal one for this hockey family!


Coach B