Men’s hockey faces two Maine foes

Men’s hockey (1-0-1, 1-0-1 in the NESCAC) opened the 2014-15 season with a trip to Maine to take on NESCAC rivals Colby and Bowdoin. The Ephs battled to a 3-3 overtime draw against the Polar Bears on Sunday after downing the Mules 4-2 on Saturday.

Against Bowdoin on Sunday, Colby Cretella ’18 and David Italiano ’18 combined for the three goals scored by the men. The Ephs maintained a 3-2 advantage before the Polar Bears managed to score with less than one minute to play in regulation to force the game into overtime and ultimately decide the contest at 3-3.

The first chance at goal came at 6:32, when co-captain Brian McNamara ’15 fired a slapshot off of a deflected shot from C.J. Shugart ’18, before Bowdoin goaltender Peter Cronin made an impressive glove save. Two minutes later, Danny Palumbo of the Polar Bears fired a wrist shot as Eph goaltender Sean Dougherty ’15 was down, but Dougherty made a strong right-pad save.

At 3:17, the Ephs went on the power play after a Polar Bear penalty, but failed to even record a shot on the man advantage. A few minutes later, however, Cretella knotted the game at 1-1, firing a shot bar down and past Cronin at 6:53, with assists awarded to Shugart and Greg Zaffino ’17.

The Ephs went on the board again at 9:09 to take a 2-1 lead, when Brian McNamara shot one from outside, and Italiano tipped in the puck as it popped up out of Cronin’s glove.

Bowdoin quickly responded to make the game 2-2 at 11:49 when a redirect from Barrington allowed John McGinnis to put one past Dougherty.

The third period started off with sloppy possession on both sides before Cretella scored his second of the night at 7:41 to put the Ephs up 3-2. Goaltender Cronin made the first save off of the shot fired by Shugart, but couldn’t get across the crease to stop Cretella’s put-back in time.

Later in the period, Bowdoin impressively held the zone, and McGinnis brought the puck around the net and fired a shot from the outside, allowing for Connor Quinn of Bowdoin to tip it in at 19:08 to tie the game and force overtime.

Overtime was once again riddled with frenetic, even play on both sides. Notably, Eph netminder Dougherty smothered a puck right in front of the crease after Bowdoin’s Matthew Lison and Matt Rubinoff had a two-on-one opportunity near the end of the five-minute overtime period. The game ended with a 3-3 final score.

Last Saturday, the men began their season with a 4-2 win over Colby. Shugart had a notable first career game as an Eph, scoring both the game-winning goal and an insurance goal in the third period.

The first penalty came at 2:17, when the Ephs drew an interference penalty to have the first man advantage of the season. Greg Johnson ’16 converted the men’s first power play attempt at 3:09, assisted by Tyler Young ’17.

The Ephs played down for a large percentage of the remainder of the period. After a penalty against Williams for too many men on the ice, Chris Kennedy of Colby tied the game at 14:25.

Williams regained momentum when Matt Werner ’16 made the game 2-1 for the Ephs at 18:47. Alex DeBaere ’15 toe-dragged his way around the defense to get the puck to assistant-captain David Jarrett ’15, who fed Werner.

In the second period at 3:50, Jarrett took a five-minute charging penalty and the Ephs impressively killed off the five-minute major. The rest of the period was marked with power play opportunities for both sides but no goals.

The third period commenced with the men scoring at the tail end of a power play carrying over from the end of the second period, making the game 3-1. Shugart scored his first goal as an Eph at 1:02, as he found himself all alone in front of the net after a breakdown in coverage by Colby. Shugart was assisted by Italiano and Craig Kitto ’15.

After several minutes of back and forth play, the Ephs forced a turnover, allowing Shugart entry into the zone as he rocketed a shot into the back of the net to score an unassisted goal at 9:50, his second tally of the night and of the period.

Colby had a golden opportunity to cut into the Eph lead with a little over four minutes left in the game, as two interference penalties were called on the Ephs within seconds of each other, on DeBaere and Johnson, respectively. Johnson’s penalty would mark Williams’s seventh penalty of the night. Colby’s Jack Burton capitalized on this 5-3 advantage, scoring off of a left pad rebound given up by Dougherty making the score 4-2.

Colby pulled their goalie with just over three minutes left, but neither team added to their totals as the game ended 4-2 in favor of Williams.

“There were a lot of good things to take away from last weekend,” Brian McNamara said. “We would have loved to get all four points but for the first weekend of the season, we competed very well as a team. Our freshman, in particular, handled themselves very well.”

The men will return to Lansing Chapman rink this weekend, facing Conn. College this Friday at 7 p.m. before playing Tufts on Saturday at 3 p.m.