ECAC East/NESCAC wrap: Nov. 21

Jumbos Make Big First Impression
Since they came into the NESCAC Conference back in the 2002-03 season, the Tufts University men’s ice hockey team has never opened the season with a 2-0-0 conference record. Cross that “never gonna happen” item off the list. With wins over Trinity and Wesleyan on the road this past weekend, Tufts finds itself tied with Middlebury at the top of the standings.
A big reason for the success is senior goaltender Scott Barchard, who earned NESCAC Co-Player of the Week honors for his play in both wins. Barchard stopped 57 of the 60 shots he faced over the weekend, and gave up just one even strength goal in the 4-1 and 3-2 wins.
Dylan Plummer and Kyle Gallegos had two goals apiece over the weekend, while freshman Andrew White chipped in with three assists to spur the offense for Tufts. About the only downer was an 0-for-11 power play, but this early in the season, there is a lot of time to fine tune some things.
Tufts plays at Curry in a nonleague contest on Tuesday night, and will play in the Rutland Invitational over the Thanksgiving weekend, with an opening round contest with Morrisville.  A Tufts vs. Castleton final, should it happen, would be a great test for the young Jumbos.
Castleton Rolling
The Spartans are liking the friendly confines of their home arena in November, where to date they are unbeaten and overall outscoring opponents by a 33-to-11 margin. Nick Lasorko (eight goals) and Dan Bell (seven goals) are off to a great start to the season for coach Alex Todd’s team. Nonleague games close out this week with Plymouth State and then Becker College in the first round of the Rutland Invitational, which they host.
Their first road trip in quite some time finds them closing out the first semester at Norwich and St. Michael’s.  Circle December 2 on your calendar, as it is the first of two games between the growing Vermont rivals this season, and first place will be on the line. The Spartans appear to be in midseason form, with a potent offense and power play, strong defense and goaltending from Erick Cinotti, and a very effective penalty killing unit. Norwich has always been the target other teams aspire to in the ECAC East, and it looks like we will get an early look at whether or not the Spartans can reach that pinnacle this season.
EA Goals
To paraphrase EA Sports, “EA Goals, They Are in the Game!”
This past weekend in NESCAC play, we saw a total of four extra attacker goals at the end of contests. Goals for Colby vs. Middlebury and Wesleyan vs. Tufts both reduced two-goal deficits, and brought the final outcomes to 3-2 finals. However, Saturday night Bowdoin scored not one, but two, extra-attacker goals with the goaltender pulled to rally from a 3-1 deficit for the overtime tie against Williams. Forward Daniel Weiniger scored at 17:32 with the extra man on the ice to pull the Polar Bears to within one goal, and Robert Toczylowski, who assisted on Weiniger’s tally, scored just over a minute later to tie the game and send it in to overtime.
Not a bad start to the opening weekend, where everyone was finally playing meaningful hockey games.  I hope that is a portent of things to come for this season, as you may not want to be rushing out of the rink in any one- or two-goal games to beat the crowd. You just might miss some exciting stuff, as evidenced by this past weekend.
Not everyone is playing this Thanksgiving weekend, so enjoy the festivities, and, if you must, that sport with the funny-shaped ball. Seriously, we are off to an exciting start in the ECAC East and NESCAC conferences, and it is likely only to get better.
Pass the dressing – Drop the puck!

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