Ice hockey downs archrival Amherst

Michael Lata ’19 notched three shots against Amherst in the men’s 2-0 win on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.
Michael Lata ’19 notched three shots against Amherst in the men’s 2-0 win on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Men’s ice hockey (18-4-2, 14-2-2 in the NESCAC) tied Hamilton 2-2 on Sunday at home after defeating Amherst 2-0 on Saturday. Saturday’s game secured the men’s place as first seed in the conference as it moves into the playoffs, and Sunday’s tie broke an eight-game winning streak.

“The games were tough competitions this weekend. Amherst and Hamilton are good teams.  Earlier this season we tied Amherst and lost to Hamilton, so this was certainly a bit of revenge,” captain Zander Masucci ’16 said.

On Sunday, after garnering a 2-1 lead, the Ephs let one through in the third period to finish their regular season with a tie. The last time Williams played Hamilton on Dec. 12, they lost 1-0 in a game that marked one of Williams’s only two conference losses this season.

Although the men started out strong in the first peiod with shots put on the net by Michael Lata ’19 and David Italiano ’18 in the opening minutes, the Continentals got on the board first. At 10:24 of the first period, after multiple shifts of extensive offensive zone pressure, Hamilton’s squad was able to regain control of the puck off of a rebound and create a two-on-one advantage in front of the crease. As a result, Hamilton’s Robbie Murden was able to sweep one past goalie Michael Pinios ’19 on the play, bringing the game to 1-0.

The Ephs responded just minutes later to tie the game at 1-1. At 14:58 of the first period, Frankie Mork ’17 came flying down along the left boards, beating two Continental defenders on the way, and went for the wrap around. The goal was ultimately awarded to Mork’s teammate Sam Gray ’17. Roberto Cellini ’19 also earned an assist on the play.

After the first period, the Continentals led in shots 13-6.

At 1:32 of the second period, Hamilton was called to the box on account of hooking, giving Williams the first power play opportunity of the match. At 2:16, after controlled puck movement around the perimeter, Masucci, positioned at the left point, found an open lane and fired a wrist shot past Hamilton, making the game 2-1 in the Williams’s favor.

After two periods, shot count was 17-16 for Hamilton, although the second period totals alone in the Ephs’ favor, 10-4. At 10:19 of the third period, Hamilton’s constant pressure paid off to tie the game at two.

Regulation ended with a 2-2 score. Shots after 60 minutes of play were just barely in the Ephs’ favor, 29-28. The five-minute overtime period proved fruitless for both teams, so that the final score was left to rest at 2-2.

On Saturday, Williams played archrival Amherst, a team they tied 2-2 in overtime on Dec. 11.

The Ephs were the first to get on the board in the contest, when, at 11:55 of the second period, Joe Welch ’18 received a pass from behind and was able to fight off the Amherst defender for an open shot. This was Welch’s second goal of the season.

The Ephs extended their lead to two near the halfway point of the second period. At 10:05, the puck was fired towards the net from the lower right circle. Cellini was thrown down in the crease but also vmanaged to get one past the Amherst goalie.

“We are very pleased about finishing first in league play,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said. “In reflecting on the regular season, I feel our team truly understands how important it is to prepare every day for the overall development of our team.  As we enter the playoff games, we will continue to focus on the day-to-day player and team details.”

This weekend, Williams will host Tufts in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs at Lansing Chapman Rink on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

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