HARTFORD, CT — The first game of the season at the Williams Ice Rink at the Community Sports Center is also the first on-campus game for the Trinity Bantams men’s ice hockey team where they opened the 2006-07 season against Hamilton.
After the ceremonial face-off with members of the Williams family, team captains and Coach Dunham the teams came out with a high tempo physical game with Hamilton getting the better of the territorial action forcing Trinity to ice the puck twice in the first ninety seconds.
Hamilton continued to apply pressure earning a power play at the 2:14 mark of the period when John Powers went off for hooking. An uncontrolled tip in front of Bantam goalie Drew Barber was their only quality chance on the power play and Trinity killed off the man advantage.
Trinity followed their first shot on goal at 6:52 with a power play of their own when Hamilton’s Travis Blood went off for tripping at 6:37. Forward Powers made up for his earlier penalty with a dazzling move through the slot but was stopped by goalie Matt Crowson who was saved from a rebound bid by the referee’s whistle when the goal came off its moorings.
Hamilton killed off the remaining penalty time but Trinity had grabbed the momentum and was putting pressure on the Hamilton defense forcing Crowson to make several key stops including a great pad save on tom price who tipped a shot from the face-off circle as he split the defense in the slot at the 10:40 mark of the period.
Hamilton went back on the power play at 12:07 when Chris Powers went into the box for hitting from behind. An interference call to the Continental’s Jerome Wallace at 13:55 ended the power play and gave the Bantams another chance to get their power play on track. A great play by Simon Dionne to keep the puck in zone led to a tic-tac-toe passing play that got the puck back to Dionne for a one timer high in the slot that Crowson made a quick glove save on to close out the penalty but freshman Harry Biggs went off at 15:57 for hooking and Trinity regained the man advantage. The Bantams couldn’t sustain any significant pressure and the teams returned to even strength with just over two minutes remaining in the period.
With just 30 seconds left in the period Hamilton’s Jared Leslie teed one up from the point and Barber made a nice blocker save through a heavy screen in front of the Trinity net.
The first period which saw Trinity gain momentum as the period went on finished scoreless with the Bantams holding a 13-7 edge in shots on goal.
The second period began as the first ended with Trinity pushing the tempo and looking to create odd man rushes. John Halverson had a great bid only to be stopped by Crowson who held his ground. Trinity’s continued aggressive play would cost them early in the period as Tom Price took and obstruction tripping penalty which was immediately followed by a five minute major to Ryan Masucci who ran over Hamilton’s goalie which put the Bantams in a 5 on 3 hole.
It didn’t take long for the Continentals to cash in twice. First at 2:08 just a minute or so into the two man advantage, captain Casey Deak scored down low to the left of the crease after receiving a pass from point man John Gordon with the other assist going to defenseman Kyle Roulston.
Just 41 seconds later Hamilton struck again with Andrew Decristoforo scoring on almost the identical play down low after a pass from Gordon. Travis Blood received the other assist and Hamilton had a quick 2-0 lead.
Hamilton continued to apply pressure but couldn’t get anything else past Barber who stood his ground. Following some coincidental minors, the teams returned to even strength and Trinity got on the board with it’s first goal in its new arena. Sophomore Tom Price finally solved Matt Crowson after a pretty passing play on a 3 on 2 rush with linemates Ryan Masucci and Chris Diozzi at 6:59 of the period cutting the Hamilton lead in half. Trinity was energized by the goal and went on the power play again when Jerome Wallace went off roughing. Hamilton killed off the penalty but Trinity owned the momentum at the halfway mark of the period.
With just over eight minutes remaining in the period Trinity forward Naoto Hamashima picked up a loose puck down the left wing and fired a low hard shot that Crowson had to be sharp on to keep the advantage for Hamilton. Just over a minute later Dionne again walked in from the right point a ripped a shot high over the crossbar to continue the Bantam’s pressure.
Hamilton would mount a quick counter-attack and freshman forward Marc Trostle scored his first collegiate goal from the left face-off circle with assists from Pat McGarry and Jared Leslie to give Hamilton back their two goal advantage at 14:14.
Penalties to Trinity’s Simon Dionne and Hamilton’s Travis Blood about a minute apart resulted in some four-on-four hockey. Bantam forward Richard Hollstein almost got one back for Trinity when his wrist shot from the high slot snuck through Crowson who dove back and knocked it away at the far post.
With just under a minute in the period a delayed penalty saw Trinity get an extra attacker on the ice and just miss cashing in a loose puck in front of the net after a great individual effort by defenseman Thomas Wenstrom. Wenstrom again led a last second rush setting up a Daniel Maturi who fired a low hard shot that Crowson held on to. A last second face-off win towards the Hamilton goal forced Crowson to make one last save in the period which ended with the Continentals holding a 3 to 1 lead despite being outshot 17-7 for the period and 30-14 through two periods of hockey.
The crowd announced at 1536 for the season opener was definitely getting vocal and trying to cheer the home team on as the third period began with the Bantams starting on the man advantage. A chase for a loose puck in neutral ice resulted in a tripping penalty on Trinity’s Chris Powers just 27 seconds into the period and the teams skated 4 on 4 prior to Hamilton going on the power play. Trinity killed off the power play and teams returned to five-on-five hockey.
With just under sixteen minutes remaining in the third period, the Bantams applied some sustained pressure in the Hamilton end. Defenseman Greg Camarco ripped a high hard wrist shot that deflected off Crowson’s blocker high in the air and landed behind him where it was cleared just before two Trinity players could knock it home.
Following the successful kill of a penalty to Tom Price, Trinity again went on the power play when Andrew Decristoforo took a major and a game ejection for hitting from behind the box at 6:05. On the ensuing face-off won by Riley Hicks, a Chris Powers shot was deflected on goal and stopped by Crowson who kept his position at the top of the crease. Another pretty set-up by Powers found Captain John Halverson at the right face-off dot for a one-timer that hit the post and went to the far corner.
Trinity continued on the offensive not allowing Hamilton to clear the zone while making Crowson again come up with several key stops. With just over minute left on the major, Hamilton forward Jake Davis stole the puck from Halverson and went in on a breakaway on Barber who held his ground and made the save. Play immediately went the other way where Richard Hollstein was set up in the right circle on a perfect cross ice pass only to see his shot hit the post and deflect into the corner.
Ryan Masucci picked up another penalty at 10:03 and with the teams skating four aside, it didn’t take long for Hamilton to extend their lead to 4 to 1 on a breakaway goal by Kyle Roulston.
Just over a minute later, Trinity answered back with senior forward Matt Refuse picking the top corner from the high slot on a nice feed from senior William Maharas to close the gap to 4-2 with just over eight minutes remaining in the period.
At 13:03 of the period after some sloppy play in the neutral zone, Hamilton captain Casey Deak chipped the puck past the defense at the blue line and skated past the defense in alone on Barber. His wrist shot found the back of the net high on the glove side for an unassisted goal and a 5- 2 lead for the visitors.
With five minutes remaining in the period Trinity forward Rafuse was checked by Hamilton defenseman Chris Diozzi who ran hard into the goalie Matt Crowson who was slow to get up after the collision. The man advantage was augmented by Trinity pulling their goalie in effort to stage a comeback. Crowson added to Hamilton’s woes by taking an ill-advised roughing penalty at 15:16 to create a 6 on 3 for Trinity who kept Barber on the bench.
Following a timeout by Trinity to set up a play on their unique three man advantage, Crowson made two quick saves on plays down low stopping Hollstein and Maharas. While Hamilton was able to clear the zone twice, they could not find the empty net and Trinity continued to pressure Crowson who again came up with a couple more saves on plays down low at the goal post. Hamilton killed off the remaining penalty time and Barber returned to his goal with just over two minutes remaining in the hockey game.
With just forty-three seconds remaining in the game, Casey Deak forced defenseman William Burns to take a holding penalty. Barber came up with his best save of the night by stopping forward Harry Biggs twice from point blank range as the game came to an end with the visitors spoiling the first campus home game for Trinity by a score of 5-2.
Shots on goal in the third period saw Trinity again outshoot Hamilton by a 16-10 margin. For the game Trinity outshot Hamilton 46-24 but couldn’t get it past sophomore Matt Crowson who earned first star honors for the visitors.
Another key factor in the game was Trinity’s inability to convert on the power play where the Bantams finished the night 0 for 10 with the man advantage including a major penalty to Hamilton near the end of the third period.
Trinity looks to break into the win column on Saturday vs. Amherst while Hamilton travels to Middletown to meet Wesleyan.