Men’s ice hockey trounces UNE, Southern Maine

Men’s hockey (6-0-1, 4-0 in the NESCAC) swept Southern Maine and the University of New England this weekend to move into its fourth week of the regular season undefeated. The men dropped Southern Maine 7-1 on Saturday after blanking the University of New England 6-0 Friday night. These impressive road performances follow a successful two weeks of play: A 3-3 tie against Manhattanville on Nov. 28 followed a four-game win streak, during which the men dismissed Babson 6-1 on Nov. 27, defeated Westfield State 3-1 on Nov. 23 and dropped conference rivals Tufts and Conn. College 5-0 and 5-1 on Nov. 19 and 20.

Despite a scoreless first period on Saturday, Williams pulled ahead quickly in the second against Southern Maine. The Huskies outshot the Ephs 32-26 on the game, but a five-goal second period and strong goaltending by Ryan Purdy ’12 saw the men pull impossibly far ahead before Southern Maine could get on the board. About six minutes into the second period, Bryden McGhee ’14 slid the puck past the Huskies’ netminder for a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Eric Rubino ’13 widened the team’s lead to two. NESCAC Player of the Week Connor Olvany ’11 jumpstarted a 90-second scoring barrage at the 17:49 minute mark, burying one in the net for a 3-0 lead. Co-captain Matt Masucci ’11 and Cody Skinner ’13 followed with goals of their own in quick succession for a 5-0 score by the end of the second.

Two more Eph goals within the first five minutes of the third period – one by Mark Lyons ’13 and another by McGhee – put Williams up 7-0 before Southern Maine was able to respond. The Huskies finally scored at 10:48, giving the Ephs a 7-1 win. Purdy made 31 saves for a 0.958 save percentage.

The men dropped the University of New England 6-0 on Friday, mostly thanks to a 46-16 shooting differential. Olvany got the men on the board at 13:19 on a breakaway facilitated by a Masucci assist, again initiating a three-goal run: Ben Contini ’12 and Brian Malchoff ’11 each tallied a goal for a 3-0 lead by the 15th minute.

Masucci received the puck from Evan Dugdale ’13 before again finding Olvany, who buried it for a 4-0 lead at 11:06. Two more goals from Justin Troiani ’12 and McGhee in the third period solidified the 6-0 win. Purdy made 16 saves in the shutout.

“We’re pleased,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said. “It was our first road trip [and] these games do count towards a NESCAC standing. Two big wins, full points on the weekend and we’re in first place early in the year. It’s a nice place to be in right now.”

A Nov. 28 tie with Manhattanville is the team’s only non-win thus far. Back-and-forth scoring left the Ephs unable to pull ahead for the win despite outshooting the Valiants 26-23. A scoreless five-minute overtime closed out the game in a 3-3 draw.

Williams was up 4-0 before Babson got on the board in the teams’ Nov. 27 contest. Early goals from Dugdale, Sasha Voloshin ’12, Rubino and Contini put the Ephs up 3:14 into the third period. Babson finally answered Williams’ goals with one of its own but was unable to rally: Masucci and John Wickman ’13 scored in the end of the third for a 6-1 final tally.

Wins over Westfield State and Tufts saw the men dominate in the same fashion. Against Westfield, the team was up 3-0 by the time the first 20 minutes expired. Westfield managed one goal in the second period, but Williams walked away with the win. Consistent scoring against Tufts paralyzed the Jumbos’ offense, as the Ephs outshot them 40-24 on the game en route to a 5-0 win.

The men pulled ahead of Conn. College 3-1 by the end of the second period. Two more goals put the nail in the Camels’ coffin for the Ephs’ first conference win of the season.

“It’s still early in the year, so obviously we’re still critical of little things we need to improve on,” Kangas said. “Every team is good now, so we can’t take anything for granted.”

The men will host Nichols at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Their next game will take place on Jan. 7 at Amherst.