The Williams College Men’s Ice Hockey team began their season on an outstanding note, defeating the New England College (NEC) Pilgrims 7-1 on Friday night and St. Anselm College 4-1 on Saturday.
The Williams defense was highly effective, yielding only two goals in two days and allowed the offense to virtually control the rhythm of the games. The offense attacked the opposition’s goalies with combined totals of 73 shots and 11 goals.
The season began on a precarious note, as the Pilgrims struck first just 1:37 into the game with a goal by Martin Ene. “The Pilgrims came out ready to go, and they were on fire” said David Carrillo ’00.
This seemed to be the result of the Ephs’ new defensive scheme which is designed to suit the strengths of the team, their speed up front at forward and size on defense. Their old style of the traditional zone defense almost discourages transition hockey and offensive production, while the new system encourages “up-tempo” hockey.
The system finally began to click almost thirteen minutes later, as Carrillo ignited some fire of his own and scored from the left side on the power play goal initiated by an Eric Demment ’01 pass with the assist coming on a precision pass from Jon Collins ’99. The Ephs never looked back as three minutes later Collins tallied a goal of his own that was assisted by co-captain Jeff Russell ’99 and Carrillo.
The Eph offense continued to roll in the second period, with goals coming from Joe Butler ’01 and Collins. As the Ephs built their lead, emotions began to flare as NEC’s frustration lead to a more physical game. Amidst the success of Williams came the frustration of NEC as they began playing very undisciplined and physical hockey, and at points taking runs at the Eph’s goalie, Dave Haimson ’00.
“Our job is not to retaliate,” said co-captain Mike Johnson ’99. “Coach tells us to take the hit and walk away, then capitalize on their mistakes.”
Mistakes costs NEC dearly all night, as they would yield four power play goals. The NEC defense was continually assaulted, as the Ephs poured in three more goals in the final period from Bobby Moss ’01, Jeff Russell ’99, and Joe Butler ’01 and managed 44 shots on goal for the game to 25 by NEC. Haimson was the main source of NEC’s problems, not yielding a goal after the first minute into the game. His solid play would continue on Saturday as the Ephs’ success continued in a 4-1 victory over St. Anselm.
The game appeared to be a bit tougher than their Friday night opponent, as the Ephs left the locker room for the start of the second period in a scoreless game. Because of Williams obvious speed and skill advantage, St. Anselm attempted to play a very physical, and at times, dirty game. However, this tactic proved to be ineffective as Williams came up with three goals in the second period.
The first goal, and second of the year for Moss, came just 1:22 into the period. The scoring continued with goals from Carillo and Jon Duval ’01. St. Anselm finally answered with just 40 seconds left in the period. Though the Ephs held a 3-1 lead, Coach Kangas was extremely frustrated with his squad at the end of the second period. “Coach was real mad that we were taking a lot of silly penalties and basically playing down to their level,” said Moss.
However, St. Anselm couldn’t put together enough scoring to match Williams, as Moss scored his second goal of the game and third of the season to seal the victory. Eph goalie Haimson registered his second victory and improved his save percentage to 96.8%.
The Ephs regrouped to play a strong third period, and have a positive attitude going into this weekend’s showdown against RIT, the top-ranked Division III team in the nation. Johnson is quick to point out that “we’re a real tight team, and we stick together through everything. We are happy with our two wins this weekend, and are psyched up big time for RIT.”
The Ephs will next take the ice on Saturday against RIT at 7:00 p.m.