Men’s ice hockey finishes out-of-conference weekend 1-1

Men’s ice hockey (11-6-2, 8-5-1 in the NESCAC) stumbled against Norwich on Saturday, losing 3-0 following a 5-2 win at St. Michael’s Friday night. The men fell to NESCAC rivals Colby and Bowdoin on Jan. 29 and 28, respectively, after a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory against New England on Jan. 22. Williams tied St. Anselm 2-2 the day prior.

Norwich, which was tied for first in the ECAC East coming into Saturday’s match-up, handed Williams three goals in the first period. Norwich got on the board first at 5:11, closely followed by another Cadet goal less than two minutes later. The Cadets then improved upon their 2-0 tally with a third goal at 17:46.

The Ephs stepped up their game in the second period, taking 11 shots to the Cadets’ 18, but still couldn’t put the puck in the net. The second and third periods remained scoreless, allowing Norwich to close out the game with its early lead still intact.
Despite netminder Ryan Purdy ’12 tallying 44 saves in the game, Norwich outshot Williams 47-18 overall in the loss.

“We were disappointed,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said in regards to Saturday’s game. “We thought that [Friday’s momentum] would carry over to Saturday – expected it would – but that didn’t happen. Norwich put us on our heels.”

Williams came from behind on Friday to topple the men from St. Michael’s by a score of 5-2. Despite two Knight goals in the first period, which gave St. Michael’s a 2-0 lead heading into the second period, the men rallied to skate away with the win.

Eric Rubino ’13 opened the team’s scoring early in the second, collecting the puck from Mark Lyons ’13 and slipping it past the Knights’ netminder for a 2-1 score. Rubino then went on to tie the game at 2-2 with another goal at 8:01.

It was the power duo of Connor Olvany ’11 and co-captain Matt Masucci ’11 who put the Ephs atop the Knights: Olvany found Masucci, who then buried the puck for a 3-2 tally.

Two more goals by Stephen Maier ’12 and Evan Dugdale ’13 at 9:17 and 14:47, respectively, put the Ephs solidly atop the Knights as time ran out. Rookie netminder Sean Donnelly ’14 had four saves in the game, while Purdy, who played the second two periods, tallied 21.

“We finished with such a high,” Kangas said. “We played pretty well in the first period …. and were able to come back and answer with goals. We really played hard for the entire game, and for the most part for the last 40 minutes.”

Back-and-forth scoring against Colby on Jan. 29 saw the teams tied 2-2 at the end of the first period. While a Mule goal 10:17 into the second was quickly answered by Justin Troiani ’11, the next three Colby goals went uncontested, allowing the Mules to pull out a 6-3 win despite 27 saves from Purdy and three from Donnelly.

Williams initially came out strong in their game against Bowdoin, with Maier notching the first goal of the game at 3:29 for a 1-0 lead, but the Ephs fell behind as three Polar Bear goals over the remainder of the first and second periods put Bowdoin up 3-1. John Wickman ’13 attempted a rally with a goal midway through the third, but time expired with the men still down 3-2.

Following a strong three periods yielding goals from Maier, Olvany and Lyons, Williams found itself evenly matched against New England as time ran out on a 3-3 score on Jan. 22. Despite New England’s Aaron Harvey’s 31 saves on the game, Brian Malchoff ’11 was able to slip one past him 3:13 into extra time for the win.

The men were not so successful against St. Anselm: After a 2-2 tie, the teams went into a scoreless overtime that yielded the same score at its end.

Kangas emphasized that the team’s focus, especially after the shut-out loss to Norwich, will be on moving forward. “We’ve been playing some really good teams, and we’re going to have moments where teams have surges against us and are playing really well and we have to know that’s going to happen and be able to respond to that,” he said. “It’s still a point where if we look ahead, if we’re able to learn from our past, [we can] play well enough.”

The team went up against Middlebury last night, but results came in too late to report. The two teams were battling to determine second place in the NESCAC. The men were ranked 15th in Div. III ice hockey entering the game. Next on the schedule are Babson and UMass-Boston: Williams will host Babson at 7 p.m. on Friday before continuing its home weekend against the men from UMass-Boston at 3 p.m. Saturday.

“We’ve had some interesting lessons all year,” Kangas said. “But if we learn from Saturday … then that could be a positive for us.”