Ephs clinch conference playoff spot

Last Saturday, men’s ice hockey (12-5-3, 9-3-2 in the NESCAC) faced off against Wesleyan in a battle that ended in a scoreless 0-0 tie. On Friday, the men suffered a 3-1 loss to Trinity. This loss came on the heels of a four-game win streak against Wentworth Institute of Technology, Conn. College, Tufts and Colby. Prior to this streak, Williams dropped a game against Bowdoin 4-1 on Jan. 18 after a 3-3 tie against Babson on Jan. 15.

The men started out Saturday’s game against Wesleyan on the offensive, getting their first major scoring chance just six minutes into the period on a power play. Forward assistant captain Evan Dugdale ’13 got a shot from the slot that hit the left post. The Ephs kept up the heat for the rest of the first, but could not slip the puck past the Cardinal goaltender. In the second period, both teams fought to get on the scoreboard. Goaltender Sean Dougherty ’15 remained solid between the pipes despite best attempts from the NESCAC’ s leading scorer, Cardinal Keith Buehler. The third period saw more scoring opportunities for both teams, but both netminders held their own.

Overtime witnessed a fired up Wesleyan team, as the Cardinals immediately challenged Dougherty with several prime scoring chances, including a three-on-one rush. Dougherty came up big during overtime to end the game in a 0-0 tie. “It was a rarity to have a 0-0 game but both teams played well defensively off the puck, and both goalies made some big saves,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said. “We know that we’re in the playoffs. That’s the most important thing. The only way to control it is to get ready for the game Friday night against Middlebury. It’s going to be a tough test.”

On Feb. 1, the men took on Trinity in a close game that ended with a 3-1 loss for Williams. The first period saw scoring opportunities for both teams yet ended in a scoreless tie. The Bantams dominated the second period, as they notched their first goal 9:30 into the second and followed with a second goal just 40 seconds later, ending the second period in their favor 2-0. The Ephs responded at the start of the third with a goal from Peter Mistretta ’15 just two minutes into the period. Despite more scoring chances for Williams in the third, Trinity put the game out of reach with a goal five minutes before the buzzer sounded, ending the game with a 3-1 win.

On Jan. 28, the men battled with No. 10 Wentworth to come out with a 1-0 win. Both teams battled for the first and second period but the score remained 0-0 despite power play opportunities and scoring chances for both teams. The Ephs made the first mark on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal from defenseman Paul Steinig ’14 11 minutes into the third period. Goalie Noah Klag ’16 protected the Ephs’ one-goal lead for the rest of the third, getting his first shutout and ending the game with a 1-0 Williams win.

The men traveled to Conn. College on Jan. 26 and collected a decisive 5-0 win. The Ephs started out the first with a bang with a goal from co-captain John Wickman ’13 just a minute into the period. The period ended with the Ephs up 1-0. The second period saw two more goals for the Ephs with a goal from Eric Rubino ’13 16 minutes into the period and another goal from Wickman just 15 seconds later. The period ended with the Ephs ahead 3-0. The Ephs carried their offensive momentum into the third period with two more goals, one from defenseman Mike Brofft ’13 just five minutes into the period and another from Rubino five minutes later. The game ended 5-0 in favor of the men.

Williams defeated Tufts on Jan. 25 by a score of 5-3. Mistretta contributed two goals to this effort. The Jumbos scored first, but less than a minute later, Mistretta tied the score with his 12th goal of the year. The score remained 1-1 at the end of the first. Mistretta attacked again at the beginning of the second period to put the Ephs up 2-1. A Tufts goal created an exciting end to the second period; the Tufts goal was followed by a Williams goal from Alex DeBaere ’15 to keep the men in the lead at 3-2. Starting the third period, Williams registered another goal from Wickman to put the men up 4-2, but Tufts responded with a goal 10 minutes later to reduce the men’s lead to 3-2. Less than a minute went by before the Ephs tallied another goal from assistant captain Nick Anderson ’14, ending the game with a 5-3 victory.

The Ephs took on Colby on Jan. 19. Goals from David Jarrett ’15, DeBaere, Anderson, Rubino and Dugdale and two goals each from Cody Skinner ’13 and Mistretta gave the Ephs a decisive 9-2 win.

Prior to this huge win, the men took on Bowdoin but suffered a disappointing 4-1 loss on Jan. 18. This came after a 3-3 tie against Babson on Jan. 15, in which  netminder Klag had 22 saves for his first collegiate start.

The men return to action with two games against Middlebury, away on Friday at 7 p.m. and home on Saturday at 7 p.m.