Ephs falter in conference contests

George Hunkele ‘17 assisted on the lone score against Trinity last Sunday.
George Hunkele ‘17 assisted on the lone score against Trinity last Sunday.

Men’s ice hockey (13-5-2, 9-3-2 in the NESCAC) fell to two conference opponents last weekend, losing 2-1 at Trinity on Sunday following a disappointing 7-3 defeat at Wesleyan on Saturday.

The Ephs and Bantams, who sit neck and neck atop the NESCAC standings, were evenly matched throughout much of Sunday’s showdown. After trading chances to begin the first period, Trinity struck first, pushing a power-play goal past netminder Sean Dougherty ’15 midway through the period. In response, the men created many scoring opportunities as the period progressed, generating an impressive 16 shots in the opening frame. Trinity goaltender Ben Coulthard looked sharp, however, and led his team into the locker room at the break with a one goal lead.

The men began the second period with a spirited campaign to knot the game. Finally, at the 10:20 mark of the period, the Ephs turned defense into offense to tie the contest at one goal apiece. After Zander Masucci ’16 blocked a Bantam slap-shot, the puck was quickly advanced up the ice and into the offensive zone where George Hunkele ’17 fed James McNamara ’15 for the score. The final frame would prove to be the decisive one as the second period ended with the score tied at 1-1.

The Bantams had the first solid opportunity to take the lead in the third, finding themselves on a power play just over seven minutes into the period. Dougherty remained steadfast, however, and swatted away Trinity’s attack. At the 11:33 mark of the period, the Bantams took the lead for good as they deposited what proved to be the game-winning goal into the Eph net.

“We came out hard and generated a lot of chances while playing well defensively,” co-captain Paul Steinig ’14 said. “We put ourselves in a position to win the game.”

“The score did not side with us this time,” co-captain Nick Anderson ’14 said.

On Saturday, a 7-3 loss against Wesleyan shocked the men. The Cardinals netted four first-period goals in a span of 7:36 to put the game out of reach not long after it began. After the Cardinals added a fifth goal, the Ephs responded early in the second period as Matt Doyle ’14 scored off a pass from Alex DeBaere ’15. Anderson added a second goal later in the period, but the men would

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not narrow the three-goal deficit for the remainder of the contest, eventually falling 7-3.

On the weekend of Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, the men swept a home series, besting NESCAC foes Tufts and Conn. College by scores of 6-2 and 1-0, respectively.

On Jan. 24 to 25, the men split a series of weekend conference matchups at Bowdoin and Colby. In a tight contest, the Ephs downed the Polar Bears 2-1 on Jan. 25. They fell on Jan. 24 to the Mules by the same score.

This weekend, the men face Middlebury in a home and away double-header, playing at 7 p.m. in Lansing Chapman Rink on Friday night before traveling to Middlebury the following evening.