Men’s ice hockey (13-6-3, 10-5-2 in the NESCAC) defeated both UMass-Boston and Babson at home this week after tying Middlebury in an overtime game on Feb. 8.
The men got on the board quickly on Saturday, as Cody Skinner ’13 snuck one by UMass-Boston’s netminder at 13:07 off a pass from Evan Dugdale ’13. The men followed up their goal with another 6:26 into the second: Mark Lyons ’13 collected a pass from Ben Contini ’11 before rifling it into the back of the net on a power play for a 2-0 lead.
Though the Beacons’ Chris Wilcox attempted a rally with his goal midway through the second, the Ephs promptly shut down any momentum their opponents managed to gain and held the Beacons to one goal in the game.
Eph netminder Ryan Purdy ’12 made 25 saves on the night, posting a strong performance that boosted his save percentage to .928. The men claimed a 2-1 victory over UMass-Boston.
“As far as wins and losses, being at home helps,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said of the men’s successful weekend. “It’s nice to be in [Chapman], and the guys at this time of year have to play their best hockey and find a way to win, and we did that this weekend.”
Williams came from behind to edge out the men from Babson 3-2 on Friday. The Beavers scored first, tallying a power play goal just 6:55 into the game. Co-captain Matt Masucci ’11, however, quickly notched one of his own for the Ephs. Masucci scored less than three minutes after the Babson goal on an assist from Connor Olvany ’11. The teams headed into the second period knotted at one goal each.
The second period saw Williams fall behind 2-1, as Babson was able to slip the puck past Purdy just seconds before the end of the period. The men came back with a vengeance in the third, however: Eric Rubino ’13 fired the puck past the Beacon netminder at 4:30, and Stephen Maier ’12 followed up his teammate’s goal with one of his own at 6:13. Despite the Beavers’ best attempts, Purdy and the defense staved them off, giving the Ephs a tight 3-2 victory.
Williams’ 3-3 overtime tie with Middlebury on Feb. 8 puts the men in a three-way tie for first in the NESCAC, sharing the position with Middlebury and Hamilton. After an early Panther goal, the Ephs saw efforts from Rubino and Masucci put them on top by a score of 2-1 at the end of the second. A prolific Middlebury scoring rush in the third period left the Panthers in the lead 3-2 in the 13th minute, but Mike Brofft ’13 drew his team even with the Panthers with a goal at 15:50. Defense reigned as neither team was able to score in the remaining minutes of the third or in the overtime period. The game ended in a 3-3 tie. Purdy had an impressive 38 saves on the night.
Kangas downplayed the importance of the men’s first-place NESCAC ranking. “You have to look at it day to day, game to game,” he said. “Bowdoin was in first at 7 p.m. Friday night and at 9:15 [p.m.] they were in fifth. The league is so close, and … we’re all in a hunt for home ice.”
The men will round out the regular season with a home stand this weekend. Williams will first host Castleton at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Lansing Chapman Rink before turning to opponent Skidmore at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
“We just have to look to Castleton Friday night,” Kangas said of the men’s upcoming schedule. “They’re playing great hockey and ranked third in the country. We’re going to have to be our very best against them on Friday, and it won’t be any easier playing Skidmore on Saturday. There’s no rest and we all know that – the kids know what’s at stake, we have to play real well both games. The way this year’s been, everybody’s been beating everybody. [All of the games] have been one- or two-goal games, and you can’t really look on paper and say, ‘Well, this team’s going to win’ … You have to treat every game and every period differently.”