Men’s hockey drops tight 1-0 semifinal to Amherst

Craig Kitto ’15 ended his collegiate ice hockey career with three shots against Amherst on Sunday.
Craig Kitto ’15 ended his collegiate ice hockey career with three shots against Amherst on Sunday.

Men’s hockey team fell 1-0 to Amherst in the NESCAC Championship game on Sunday, after beating Connecticut College 4-2 in the semi-finals on Saturday. This game ended the season for the Ephs with an overall record of 16-9-2.

The first period started energetically. At 14:02 into the first period, matching penalties were called. 4-4 play ensued for two minutes, but neither team was able to capitalize on the open ice. 

Unfortunately, the power play proved to be fruitless for the Ephs at the start of the second period. At 9:01 into the second period of play, Amherst player Kevin Ryder was called to the box for tripping Ephs’ Alex DeBaere ‘15. DeBaere was consequently called for embellishment, evening play to 4-4 for two minutes.The second period ultimately ended scoreless. Shots remained in Amherst’s advantage 20-15 overall, and the second period totals were tied 12-12.

At 3:08 into the third period, Amherst got the first goal of the game, after Andrew Fenwick got one past Dougherty from the left side. This goal made the game 1-0 in favor of the Jeffs. 

“Both teams had a couple opportunities, but there really weren’t a lot of them. It was a pretty tight checking game, we thought it would be,” noted Kangas. “When Kitto came down the middle on the 2-1 at the end of the game, I thought he got a good shot off, created a good opportunity; we had another quality chance in the second period as well, but that’s the game.”

The Ephs were given an opportunity to respond at 6:37 when Amherst player Brendan Burke was called for charging. However, Williams was unable to convert on this power play opportunity, leaving them with over half the period to tie the game.

The game ended with a final score of 1-0, with Amherst claiming the 2015 NESCAC Championship title over Williams. The game shot count ended up being 26-23 in favor of the Jeffs.

On Saturday, the Ephs defeated the Connecituct College Camels in the NESCAC semi-final. There was no notable action in the first period, with the first 20 minutes proceeding scoreless. Connecticut College got on the board first in this match, about halfway through the second period. The first Camels’ goal was a wrist shot from the center of the zone, ultimately deflected off of a Williams defenseman, going top shelf over Dougherty at 9:15. This gave the Camels a 1-0 lead at the halfway point of the game.

Williams was given the opportunity to respond shortly thereafter in a power play. The Ephs capitalized on this man advantage at 14:09, when Greg Johnson ’16 fired one from the left point. Johnson was assisted by David Italiano ’18 and James McNamara ’17. This goal tied the game 1-1 as the Ephs headed into the third period.

The third period started off with 4-4 play, as matching penalties were awarded to both sides at the conclusion of the second period.

Right at the 2:00 mark, Williams took a 2-1 lead in the game, as Johnson fired another shot from the left slot. Johnson was assisted by Tyler Young ’17 and James McNamara. At 7:48 of the third period, Williams extended their lead to two goals, as Mork  fired a shot from the bottom of the left wing circle. Mork was assisted on the play by Matt Werner ’16. This goal made the score 3-1. The Camels responded with a score at 9:20. This goal brought the Camels within one, the score now 3-2.

Williams regained their two goal lead at 14:18 into the third period, when Craig Kitto ’15 and Colby Cretella ’18 converted on a 2-1. Cretella made the cross pass to Kitto who fired one top shelf, bringing the game’s score to 4-2.

The game ended with a final score of 4-2, Connecticut College’s season ending with the conclusion of this match.

Though the team is dissapointed to not arrive back in the Purple Valley with the NESCAC title, the men have high hopes for next year. “When you get a championship game like that versus Amherst we knew it was going to come down to one bounce, one goal.  Unfortunately for us, they were on the receiving end and weathered our attack for the rest of the game.  Although it was a disappointing result, as a team we are very proud of our season. The seniors did an unbelievable job of leading our team and set the bar high for the younger guys. We will miss them next year as we regroup and set our sights on winning that NESCAC title,” co-captain Zander Masucci ’16 said.

The Ephs graduate six seniors this spring. Dougherty, DeBaere, Kitto, David Jarrett ’15, Brian McNamara ’15, and Peter Mistretta ’15 played their last game as Ephs today in this NESCAC Championship match.