Men’s ice hockey falters at Plattsburgh State, 5-1

Men’s ice hockey (9-3-1, 6-2 in the NESCAC) suffered a 5-1 defeat at Plattsburgh State on Monday. The team posted a banner weekend, dropping Wesleyan and Trinity after a slow start to 2011. The men fell 6-3 to Hamilton on Jan. 8 after Amherst snapped the team’s early-season win streak on Jan. 7. The losses came after a strong 3-1 win over Nichols prior to winter break.

Williams, ranked No. 6 nationally after the weekend’s performance, went up against No. 13 Plattsburgh State on Monday. The Cardinals took control of the game immediately, notching two goals by the 2:37-minute mark. Connor Olvany ’11 got the Ephs on the board soon after, however: After collecting the puck from co-captain Matt Masucci ’11, Olvany buried a shot behind Plattsburgh’s Josh Leis at 8:17. The 2-1 score held for the remainder of the first period.

“[Plattsburgh] scored two quick goals and they’re opportunistic,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said. “Those two goals set the tone early in the game … We played well, in the last 14 minutes of the period we had some good momentum. We had a power play goal and I thought we could have a few more.”

Olvany’s goal proved to be the sole Eph score of the evening. Plattsburgh, though victorious, barely outshot Williams 28-25 on the night, but three more goals over the next two periods widened the gap to a daunting 5-1. Despite 23 saves by goaltender Ryan Purdy ’12, the men simply could not mount a strong enough offense to counteract Plattsburgh’s attack.

“When you play great teams, you’re going to have days where [the other team] is just a little better than you are,” Kangas said. “It was probably a good test in the sense that when things aren’t going our way early, [we can still] compete well.”

The men trampled Trinity at home on Saturday, outshooting the Bantams 38-30 en route to a 5-0 win. The Ephs pulled ahead 2-0 within the first 13 minutes: John Wickman ’13 opened the scoring with a goal at 10:33, while Evan Dugdale ’13 kept the goals coming with one of his own at 12:54. Ben Contini ’11 and Mike Brofft ’13 were credited with the assists.

Contini tallied two quick goals in the second to boost the Ephs up 4-0. Justin Troiani ’12 collected a pass from Contini and redirected it past Trinity’s netminder for the team’s final goal of the game with under three minutes left in the second period, and Williams was able to hold the 5-0 score through the third for the shutout. Trinity’s frustration with the score was evident: Five of the Bantams’ eight penalties came during the second period.

Williams tallied its first NESCAC win since November against Wesleyan on Friday. Brian Malchoff ’11 buried the team’s first goal of the game in the net just 9:10 into the first period off an assist from Troiani. The men’s 1-0 lead held until the beginning of the second, when Cardinal Nick Craven snuck a shot past Purdy. Wickman delivered just 12 minutes later, however, reopening the gap to 2-1.
The Ephs held their lead until Cardinal Todd Keats scored with just nine seconds left on the clock. The buzzer-beater tied the game at 2-2, forcing it into overtime. The extra time was short-lived, however: Malchoff snuck a shot past Wesleyan’s netminder just 1:04 into the period. Purdy had 25 saves in the 3-2 win.

“Obviously, to win games is great,” Kangas said. “We definitely improved from the previous weekend … The way we finished on Friday was a positive because anytime someone scores late in the game, it’s hard to regain momentum.”

Jan. 8 saw the men suffer their second loss of the season as Hamilton dismissed Williams 6-3. Hamilton knocked one in just 30 seconds into the game, but Williams answered almost immediately: Goals by Wickman and Contini put the Ephs up 2-1 within six minutes. Two more Hamilton goals, however, gave the Continentals a 3-2 edge heading into the third.

Hamilton pulled even further ahead with another goal early in the third period. Bryden McGhee ’14 fired a shot in at 10:09, just one minute later, closing in on Hamilton to a 4-3 score, but two more Hamilton goals at 17:51 and 18:59 widened the gap to 6-3 to end the game.

Amherst dealt Williams a bitter 4-2 loss to kick off 2011. The Jeffs got on the board early at 16:51 in the first period and held their 1-0 lead until 14:27 into the second, when Olvany managed a power play score. The Jeffs, however, took control with two more goals for a 3-1 lead by halfway through the third period. Contini finally answered the goals with one of his own, but a fourth Jeff goal put the Ephs down 4-2 at the buzzer.

Williams closed out the month of December on a high note by dropping Nichols 3-1 on Dec. 12. The Ephs outshot their opponents by a margin of 34-23 and saw goals from Wickman, Malchoff and Masucci in the win.

The men will host both St. Anselm and New England this weekend, facing off against St. Anselm at 7 p.m. Friday and then taking on New England at 3 p.m. Saturday. Williams will then take to the road to play games at Bowdoin Jan. 28 and Colby Jan. 29.

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