Williams College men’s hockey goalie Evan Ruschil came up with a big game Thursday morning, helping the United States move into the medal round of the World University Games.
The Williams senior made 18 saves and Hobart College forward Luke Aquaro had three goals and an assist as the U.S. beat Hungary 9-1 at Carkson University’s Cheel Arena.
“It was awesome to get the start for Team USA in a win or go home game,” Ruschil said in a release from Williams. “The boys came out flying and never looked back.”
With the win, not only did Team USA clinch a spot in the medal round, but it also ended up being the top team in Pool B.
The US and Kazakhstan both finished with identical 4-1 records and 12 points, but since the Americans defeated Kazakhstan 4-1 on Wednesday, they earned the top spot by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Had Team USA lost to Hungary, it would have been out of the tournament. That’s because the Americans and Slovakia would have then finished with 3-2 records as Slovakia beat Team USA 5-2 on Sunday. There was the possibility of a three-way tie but Slovakia dropped a 5-4 decision to Korea on Wednesday afternoon. That guaranteed either Team USA or Kazakhstan would win Group B.
Canada and Japan are the top two teams in Group A, but the matchup for Team USA had not been announced at press time. The Americans will play Saturday morning at Herb Brooks Arena at Lake Placid.
Aquaro lit the lamp just 59 seconds into the first period, giving Ruschil and Team USA a lead it would not relinquish. Three minutes later, Aquaro made it 2-0 on a power-play goal. He scored 15 seconds into the man advantage.
The US third line of Aquaro, John Mullera of Salve Regina and Matt Hanewall of the Milwaukee School of Engineering was the big scoring line. They combined to score five of the nine goals.
Ruschil, meanwhile, didn’t make his first save until he stopped a shot by Hungary’s Adam Csiszer 7:37 into the opening period. When the first 20 minutes were done, Ruschil had stopped all seven shots he faced as the US had a 2-0 lead.
Team USA scored five goals in the second period and Ruschil was on point again with five saves.
The Eph goalie did not give up a goal until there were 11 minutes left in the game. It was Csiszer, who came into the contest leading Hungary with three goals and three assists, got on the board.
In 40 minutes of ice time over the previous four games, Ruschil made six saves and did not give up a goal.
“It has been an honor to represent my country so far,” Ruschil said in the release from Williams, “but we still have unfinished business to do in Lake Placid.”