Men’s ice hockey (15-4-1, 11-2-1 in the NESCAC) came away with a narrow 4-3 victory over the Wesleyan last Saturday after winning in overtime 5-4 to the Trinity on Friday. Saturday’s game marked the Ephs’ fifth straight win and their 10th win over the past 11 games.
“The team showed great poise after trailing 2-0 in both games,” captain Zander Masucci ’16 said. “Obviously, we are hoping not to be in that situation again for the remainder of the season but it speaks a lot to the work ethic of this team. We have great goaltending and relied on them to come up big and we could not be more grateful for [Noah] Klag [’16] and [Michael] Pinios [’19] this weekend.”
In both matches, the Ephs let in two unanswered goals in the first periods of the games. On Saturday, the first unanswered goal came at 7:17 when the Cardinals’ Jaren Taenaka fired through his sixth goal on the season.
The Cardinals doubled their lead just nine minutes later at 16:09, bringing the game to 2-0. The Ephs mounted a strong comeback in the second period of play, scoring three unanswered goals. The first came at 7:19 of the period when Roberto Cellini ’19 scored an unassisted goal, his fourth of the season. This cut the Cardinal lead down to a single goal advantage.
The tying goal came at 10:50 of the second when Greg Johnson ’16 scored his first point of the season, assisted on the play by Cellini (seventh assist) and Frankie Mork ’17 (sixth assist).
The Ephs notched their final goal of the period at 15:16. At 14:09, the Ephs were called for too many men on the ice, resulting in a two-minute minor power play for the Cardinals. Fortunately, the Cardinals lost possession of the puck and Tyler Young ’17 scored an unassisted shorthanded goal, beating a Cardinal on the play. The Ephs went into the third period with a 3-2 lead.
Following a goal from Cellini at 7:17, the Ephs secured a solid two-goal lead to fend off any late challenge in the game from the Cardinals. Deep in the final period, though, Michael Lata ’19 went to the penalty box at 13:54 for holding and gave Wesleyan the opporunity for a power play. A Cardinal goal at 14:35 brought the game to its final score of 4-3 in favor of the Ephs.
“As we have seen all year, every NESCAC game and every NESCAC weekend is extremely competitive,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said. “We are pleased to have earned four points; however, we realize how important it is to stay in the moment, improve as individuals and as a team.”
On Jan. 30, the men beat Conn. College 3-2 and, on Jan. 29, took down Tufts 4-0. Young was named NESCAC Player of the Week for his two goals and one assist in the two NESCAC games of that week.
“After falling behind early in both games this weekend, it was great to see how well our team repsonded,” assistant captain Matt Werner ’16 said.
“We will look to build on that heading into a very important home-and-home with Middlebury on Thursday and Friday.”
The men will next compete against Middlebury at home on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. This will be their third-to-last NESCAC opponent of the season before taking on archrival Amherst on Feb. 20 and Hamilton soon after on Feb. 21.