On Saturday, men’s ice hockey (16-6-3, 12-4-2 in the NESCAC) took on seventh-seeded Colby in the NESCAC quarterfinals at the Lansing Chapman Arena. In a battle with close scoring opportunities for both teams, the Ephs came out with a 2-1 win to advance to the semifinal round. The Ephs were the favorite to win, having defeated the Mules twice already in the regular season, the second game being a 9-2 blowout. This game, however, proved to be much more of a challenge for the Ephs.
The first period began with equally balanced teams. The Colby defense put on a strong front and prevented the Williams offense from having any real chances. Despite a power-play opportunity for Colby nine minutes into the period, the Mules did not get the puck past Eph netminder Sean Dougherty ’15. The Ephs finally got their chance 13 minutes into the period thanks to assistant captain Nick Anderson ’14 and Craig Kitto ’15. Anderson forced a turnover in the offensive zone but lost the puck. Kitto picked up the loose puck and gave it back to Anderson for a nice wrister top shelf, putting the Ephs up 1-0.
The Ephs began the second period on fire, peppering Mule goaltender Sam Parker with shots. The Mules responded with the same intensity, putting Dougherty to the test. The Ephs had two man-up opportunities while the Mules had one. It was not until the last minute of the second that both teams capitalized on their scoring opportunities. Kitto notched his second point of the night with 30 seconds remaining in the period to put the Ephs up 2-0. After picking up the puck in the neutral zone, he deked two Colby defenders and wristshot the puck past Parker. Colby quickly responded with a goal of their own from forward Matt Gelnaw with just five seconds remaining in the period. Dougherty managed to block Gelnaw’s initial shot but not the rebound, which Gelnaw quickly tapped in. The period ended with the Ephs in a close 2-1 lead.
The third period was all Colby, as the Mules turned up the offense in a desperate attempt to end the last period with a tie. Colby’s offense challenged Dougherty with numerous scoring opportunities, but the men’s goaltender kept all pucks out of the net. With less than a minute left in the period, the Mules pulled their goalie in a last ditch attempt to score a goal. However the Ephs killed the remaining seconds off and ended the game with a win.
The Ephs travel to Maine this weekend to face off against third-seed Trinity in the NESCAC semifinals at Bowdoin on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“It’s going to be a good matchup,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said. “They beat us last time in the year. They have a very good hockey team. We’ll be ready to play and hopefully at our best. All we can control is ourselves.”