Men’s ice hockey stays first seed in NESCAC

Jo Kim

On Saturday, men’s hockey (16–7–1, 13–5–0 NESCAC) defeated Amherst (9–11–4, 7–8–3) 5-2. With two goals each, Mac Carso ’23 and Tyler Scott ’21 secured the top seed in the NESCAC Tournament for the Ephs, which begins on Saturday. Recovering nicely from the previous day’s 3-2 loss to Hamilton, the men will take on eighth-seeded Connecticut College next Saturday. 

During Friday’s game, the Continentals were able to score right off the bat in the first period when Nick Hawkins, assisted by Teddy Simson, shot the puck from the front of Eph goaltender Cosimo Lazzarino ’22 and posted the first point of the game. Following the goal, the Ephs had a power play opportunity at 4:17 but were unable to capitalized on it, keeping the game 1-0 in favor of the Continentals.

At 10:14, Hamilton started to pull further ahead when Nick Ursaliti skated from the right side and snuck the puck into an open area past Lazzarino. Although the Ephs skated hard, they were unable to convert any shots to goals for the rest of the 20-minute period.

In the second period, the Ephs closed in on the Continentals’ lead. Carso, assisted by Daniel Woolfenden ’21, posted the Ephs’ first goal of the game. Carso, who was recently named NESCAC Player of the Week, made a phenomenal goal from the left side after receiving a pass from Woolfenden. The Continentals, however, responded with their own goal shortly after at 4:55 into the period.

Although down two points going into the third period, the Ephs surged forward, scoring their second goal of the game at 13:16. Wyatt Glover ’20 lit the lamp and brought the game to 3-2, giving the Ephs a chance to tie with five minutes remaining in the game. While the puck was behind the net, Hamilton goaltender Sean Storr left the goal untended, allowing for Glover to receive a pass and easily score from the left side of the net.

Although the Ephs skated hard in the last five minutes of the third period, they were unable to catch up to the Continentals’ lead. Overall, the Continentals outshot the Ephs 29 to 28 and left the rink with a win.

In Saturday’s game, both teams came into the game with equal aggression, but the Ephs were on the scoreboard at 12:47 in the first period. Scott fired a dart past Amherst goaltender Giancarlo Ventre from the left side circle and put the game at 1-0.

The rest of the first period saw three power plays, two for the Ephs and one for the Mammoths. Neither team was able to convert any of their shots to goals and the first period ended 1-0 in favor of the Ephs.

In the second period, four goals were scored. The Ephs extended their lead to 2-0 at 3:35 when Niko Karamanis ’22, assisted by Connor Kucharski ’22, flew toward the goal, slapping the puck past Ventre and into the top right of the net. Amherst responded with their first goal of the game. Patrick Daly, assisted by Joey Verkerke, picked up a deflected puck and tipped it into an opening. Not wanting to lose the lead, Scott, assisted by Michael Armstrong ’21, scored his second goal of the season at 5:46. Scott chased after a loose puck from a deflected shot and scored on Ventre’s left side.

At 12:52, the Mammoths scored on a power play, reducing the Ephs’ lead to 3-2 after 40 minutes of play.

Going into the third period with a one-goal advantage, the Ephs looked to extend their lead and solidify the win. Carso’s power play goal at 13:44 put the Ephs up two with less than seven minutes left in the game. Carso, assisted by Nick Altmann ’22, scored off a deflected shot from the front of the net. Less than two minutes later, Carso scored his second goal of the game and cemented the Ephs’ lead. 

“Our players kept going and defended very well,” head coach Bill Kangas said. “The first period was the start that we needed, and it’s very exciting that we could clinch the one seed after the regular season… In this league it’s nice to have the home game, but it is competitive and will be challenging. It is exciting to work hard and finally earn that top spot.”

The men will host Connecticut College, currently seeded eighth  in the NESCAC quarterfinals on Saturday at 3 p.m.