Men’s ice hockey stays undefeated with victories over Connecticut College, Tufts

Forward Joe Welch ’18 recorded a goal and two points in Saturday’s 7-2 win over Connecticut College. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Men’s ice hockey (5–0–0, 4–0–0 in the NESCAC) defeated Connecticut College 7-2 on the road on Saturday after beating Tufts 4-2 on Friday.

Against the Camels, five of the seven Eph goals came from the special teams units. Goaltender Michael Pinios ’19 started the game, and Jake Pelton ’20 saw some action in the third period. In the opposite crease was Camel sophomore Avery Gobbo.

At 3:37, C.J. Shugart ’18 scored the first goal of the game, assisted by Joe Welch ’18. The goal was Shugart’s fourth of the season, and the assist was Welch’s fourth.

At 8:23, Connor Meike ’19 was sent to the box for holding. Despite playing short-handed, the Ephs scored just 18 seconds later. Tyler Scott ’21 notched the first goal of his Eph career at 8:41 assisted by Daniel Wolfenden ’21 (first assist) and Roberto Cellini ’19 (third assist). The Ephs killed the rest of the power play to keep the score at 2-0.

The Camels brought the game back to within one a few minutes into the second period. At 4:55, freshman Paul Capozzi scored his first goal of his collegiate career, assisted by sophomore Jacob Moreau (first assist) to make the score 2-1.

The Ephs were given a power play opportunity a few minutes later, after Camel Brett Stirling was sent to the box for slashing. At 7:57, Welch converted on the man advantage for his first goal of the season. Marcus Mollica ’19 was awarded an assist on the play (fourth assist).

Right before the period’s close, the Ephs padded their lead to three goals. At 19:56, on an unassisted play, Max Fuld ’20 (second goal) fired a shot past Gobbo to bring the score to 4-1.

The Camels responded quickly in the third period. At 2:50, Bryan Ackil (second goal) converted on a play assisted by Kevin Doyle (first assist) and Jake Farabee (fourth assist) to bring the game to within two, the score now 4-2.

The Ephs solidified their victory with three consecutive power play goals to end the third period. “Special teams came up huge for us,” head coach Mike Monti said. “We were able to score four power play goals and score a short-handed goal, while killing off two of our own penalties.”

The first came after Camel Matt Michaud went to the box for hooking. At 5:18, Mollica posted in his third goal of the year with an assist from Welch (fifth assist, third point of the game).

At 6:27, William White went to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Ephs another power play. Just six seconds later, at 6:33, David Italiano ’18 (second goal) capitalized with the extra man, assisted by Myles Cunningham ’21 (fourth assist), to make the score 6-2.

The final goal of the game came at 16:04 from the same goal-assist duo after Brett Stirling was given a two-minute minor for elbowing. The game came to a close with a final score of 7-2 for Williams. Shot count was 37-28 for the Ephs.

“Connecticut College has a really hard-nosed, tough team, and it was a battle of a game,” Monti said. “I have to commend our guys: our seniors, our juniors, our sophomores and our first-years. They have worked hard.”

On Friday, four different Ephs scored goals and Mollica posted a three point game as the men defeated Tufts 4-2.

“It’s great that we are getting scoring from more than one source, and that’s important,” Monti said. “But it’s really all of the little plays that all 18 skaters make throughout the game: blocking shots, chipping pucks to space, playing hard in all three zones.”

In net for the Ephs was Stephen Morrissey ’18, who made an impressive 30 saves. In the opposing crease for Tufts was senior Nik Nugnes. Nugnes made 25 saves in the match.

“Mo [Morrissey] played great in net tonight,” Monti said. “He made some key saves in the game.”

The Ephs scored four unanswered goals during the first 42 minutes of play. The first came toward the end of the opening period. At 14:34, Keanu Hilaire ’19 scored his second goal of the year assisted by Mollica (second assist).

The men extended their lead to two goals shortly thereafter on the man advantage. At 16:00, Jack McCool ’21 scored the first goal of his career as an Eph after Jumbo Peter Hatton was sent to the box for holding at 14:34. McCool’s goal was also off of an assist from Mollica (third assist).

Williams held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period and outshot Tufts 14-5.

The men maintained their momentum in the second period, scoring their third goal just 42 seconds after puck drop. Nick VanBelle ’21 picked up the second goal of his career on a play facilitated by Cunningham (third assist) and Shugart (second assist). The tally brought the score to 3-0 and was the sole goal in the second period. The shot count for the period was a lopsided 16-4 for the Jumbos, but the Ephs were able to stave off this offensive surge.

Williams scored its fourth and final goal of the game at just 1:28 into the final period. Mollica (second goal) was able to get one past Nugnes on a play assisted by Fuld (first assist).

Around five minutes later, the Jumbos recorded their first goal. At 6:55, sophomore Jordan Haney got one through Morrissey on an unassisted effort, picking up his first goal of the season. Tufts senior Dan Kelly also got his first goal of the season, firing a shot past Morrissey on a play assisted by sophomore Anthony Farinacci (first assist). The goal brought the game to its final score of 4-2.

The shot count in the third period was an even 11-11, bringing the game’s total shot count to 32-29 in favor of the Jumbos.

“We’ve had the luxury of playing our first three games at home, but playing road hockey takes a slight adjustment to the mindset,” Monti said. “We talked a lot about that this week: what it takes to be competitive on the road.”

The men visit Amherst on Friday at 7:30 p.m.