The men’s ice hockey team bolstered their chances for a bid to the NCAA Division III championship tournament with strong efforts against Holy Cross and Connecticut College. Holy Cross was among the team’s toughest opponents of the year, entering the game with an overall record of 16-6-2, 13-3-2 in the ECAC East. “We knew we had to come out strong,” Chad Ogiba ‘00 said. “We really needed the win to help our tournament chances.”
The Ephs started out quickly, registering the first goal of the game less than five minutes in, as forward Joe Butler ’01 beat Holy Cross netminder Tom Ormondroyd to the puck. He was assisted by Jon Colllins ’99 and Jeff Russell ’99. “We got on the board early, and then we buckled down in the defensive zone,” co-captain John Tatum ‘98 said. The Ephs extended their lead to 2-0 only 56 seconds into the second period as Russell netted a shorthanded goal. The lead was narrowed to 2-1 as Holy Cross tallied their first goal with eight minutes remaining in the game.
However, their rally would be stifled, as goalie David Haimson ’00 continued his outstanding play. He stopped 43 of the 44 shots he faced, en route to his fifteenth victory of the season. “Dave was phenomenal,” commented Tatum. “Everybody raised their games a notch.”
The Ephs answered the Holy Cross goal two minutes later, as Ogiba connected on a pass from David Carillo ’00 and Bobby Moss ’01. Russell sealed the game with his second goal of the day, an empty netter, to make the final score 4-1. The Ephs ran their record to 18-5-1 with the overwhelming victory.
The previous night, the Ephs saw their four game winning streak snapped at the hands of Connecticut College, as the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie. The Ephs scored first, as Tatum scored a power play goal, assisted by Carillo and Moss. The Ephs would hold the lead for much of the game, as the teams fell into a defensive struggle. The Connecticut College team’s defensive zone trap slowed the Ephs offense. “It was tough to get the puck out of our own zone,” Ogiba said.
Connecticut tied the game with only three minutes remaining in the third period, as freshman Darrell Cristina slipped the puck past Haimson. Neither team was able to score again, despite numerous chances.
Shots by both teams hit the goal posts with time winding down, and the goalies for both teams rose to the occasion making phenomenal saves. Haimson finished the game with 25 saves and Matt Proulx of Connecticut stopped 35 shots.
The Ephs finished the regular season with a record of 18-5-1. The team decided to opt out of ECAC post season play so that they could put in a bid for a spot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
The Ephs chances will be impacted by the conference tournament efforts of SUNY schools Oswego and Plattsburgh. They will find out whether their season will continue in two weeks when the tournament draw will be announced.