Men’s hockey splits pair with Middlebury

Men’s hockey (14-6-2, 10-5-1 in the NESCAC) attempted to bounce back last weekend after losing to conference leader Trinity on Feb. 7. The team split games with Middlebury on Friday and Saturday and will look to maintain its momentum heading into playoffs at the end of the month.

In Saturday’s game, which found the Ephs playing at home, the Panthers controlled the pace of the game. At 12:06 in the first period, Middlebury opened the scoring. Netminder Sean Dougherty ’15 made an initial save, yet could not stop the rebound from ending up in the back of the net. A few minutes later, Dan Doherty ’18 leveled the score at 1-1 with his third goal of the season, assisted by Alex Gonye ’17 and tri-captain Brian McNamara ’15. Just before the end of the period, however, the Panthers retook the lead, making the score 2-1 heading into the first break. Middlebury took a preponderance of the shots, outshooting Williams 15 shots to six.

The Panthers furthered their lead with a third goal early in the second period, for a score of 3-1.However, the tide of the game began to turn when Greg Johnson ’16 scored on a power play after Middlebury’s Max Greenwald was called for interference. The Ephs then tied the game with a goal from James McNamara ’17, leveling the game 3-3 at the close of the second period.

The third period began with a goal from the Panthers at 2:31, which gave them a 4-3 lead. Four minutes later, though, Williams responded with a goal from David Italiano ’18, his eighth score of the season. Later in the period, the Ephs capitalized on another power play, taking the lead off a goal from Craig Kitto ’15. The game concluded 5-4, with Middlebury failing to maximize the potential of a power play later in the period. Dougherty held up strong in the net, achieving 34 saves throughout the game.

The Ephs met a stiff defense in their game against the Panthers on Friday, losing 2-0. Despite 34 saves from Dougherty, the Williams offense was simply unable to find the net. On the other side, Middlebury found opportunities to score early in the first and second periods, and were especially dominant during the first, outshooting Williams 17 to four. Twice in the third period, the Ephs went up a man on a power play yet could not convert those advantages into goals.

“I was very pleased with our team effort during our home series with Middlebury,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said. “I thought we competed with good pace and energy, and we can build on our play going into our last league weekend games.”

Williams will next play away against Hamilton on Friday at 7:00 p.m before taking on rival Amherst at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.