To end the first half on a positive note means a lot to every team, but some more than others. For those that started fast, to keep the positive momentum going is key, while others that have struggled have the opportunity to put some bad results or poor play behind them based on some strong final weekend results. It was a mixed bag with surprising results aplenty, some teams that have really found their identity and others still in a desperate search for some consistent play and a positive outcome on the scoreboard.
Here is the wrapup for the last weekend of games in December, as virtually every school will head off to finals and the holidays before starting up again at the end of the month.
After winning nonconference games over MASCAC foes on Thursday by one-goal margins, top contenders University of New England and Nichols squared off on Saturday, with the Nor’easters hoping to knock off the Bison and move up in the standings.
Scott Cuthrell’s two points and Colin Brennan’s 41 saves led the Bison to a 3-1 win, with Dylan Bengston’s unassisted, extra-attacker goal breaking up Brennan’s shutout with just over a minute remaining in regulation time. With the win, Nichols passes Salve Regina atop the CCC standings entering the break.
Curry made a big statement in downing Babson by a 1-0 score, with Jake Heisinger netting the game-winning goal in overtime and then following that up with a nonconference road win over Manhattanville by a 7-4 score. Shane Tracy scored a hat trick for the Colonels in the win over the Valiants.
The Utica Pioneers were one of the hottest teams in the country to open the season, but have fallen on hard times over the last few weekends of the first half. In a nonconference game with Morrisville on Friday night, the Pioneers dropped their fourth game in a row after opening the season 8-0. The Mustangs got 52 saves from goalie Jared Young and two goals from Joe Santino to take the home win that included a power-play goal, a short-handed goal, and an empty-net goal to go with a pair of even-strength goals.
Hobart closed out its first half with a nonconference tie with Trinity on Friday that saw a special teams battle in the 4-4 tie. Hobart overcame three Bantam power-play tallies with two short-handed goals of their own before Jonas Toupal’s goal tied the game midway through the third period.
Five different goal scorers and couple of points each from Kyle Griffin and Mike Palmer led the Worcester State Lancers to a nonconference win over Stonehill last Thursday night.
Salem State continues to struggle in finding their game this season, as a 4-4 nonconference tie with Suffolk was followed up by a 6-0 loss to Endicott where the Vikings were outshot by a 61-20 margin.
Assumption took a pair of nonconference wins over Framingham State by a 10-2 score and 3-1 over Western New England. Tommy Mahoney recorded the hat trick in the win over the Rams, while Nick Commesso starred in goal against the Golden Bears, recording 40 saves in the come-from-behind victory.
New England College has very quietly closed out a solid first half following Friday night’s win over travel partner St. Anselm. The Pilgrims moved to 5-2-0 in conference play and 8-3-0 overall after recording the 4-3 win against the Hawks. Connor Fries scored a pair of goals as NEC built a 3-1 lead early in the second period but the Hawks rallied to tie the game behind goals from Jonathan Pallotta and Lawrence Taylor IV before Kyle Arenson rallied the visitors to the win with a goal in the final three minutes of play. Brett Kilar made 25 saves and moved to 7-3-0 on the season in goal for New England College.
Hard to believe that Saturday’s game between Amherst and Middlebury would find the loser winless in conference play for the first half. Amherst used two goals from freshman Patrick Daly to post a 4-1 win that dropped the Panthers to 0-6-0 in NESCAC play and 0-8-0 overall.
Bowdoin went on the road and used some very consistent play to knock off Tufts on Friday night by a 4-0 score before taking a 4-3 win over Connecticut College behind a hat trick from forward Cody Todesco. The Camels had fought back to tie the game just 15 seconds into the third period on a goal by Brian Belisle after falling behind by a 3-0 score in the first period before Todesco scored the game-winning goal with just over six and a half minutes remaining in regulation. Erick Wurman made 23 saves for his second win of the season.
Buffalo State had the ultimate in up-and-down weekend play when they maybe got caught looking ahead to Saturday when they lost a Friday night league contest to Cortland by a 3-0 score. That loss may have fueled a bigger fire for Saturday when number one ranked and unbeaten Oswego paid a visit and the Bengals took down the Lakers by a 5-1 score behind two points each from Anthony Beaumont, Anthony Passero, Marcus Michalski, and Darren Young, while Mike DeLaVergne stopped 27 of 28 shots for the big win to close out the first half of the season.
Cody Todesco, Bowdoin: He followed freshman Sam Topham’s first career goal with two of his own over a three-minute span of the first for a 3-0 Polar Bears lead over Connecticut College. The lead didn’t stand up and Todesco needed to complete his hat trick with the game-winner in the third period for the 4-3 road win and weekend sweep for Bowdoin.
Anthony Beaumont, Buffalo State: Scored just his second goal of the season to open the scoring for Buffalo State and closed out the 5-1 win over previously unbeaten Oswego with a third period power-play goal to ice the upset win over the nation’s number one team.
Matt Schneider, Brockport: The Brockport netminder moved to 3-1-0 on the season in recording the shutout win over hosts Plattsburgh on Saturday night in the 2-0 conference win. Schneider stopped all 36 shots he faced, including 28 over the final two periods as Brockport was outshot 36-26 for the game. The win was Brockport’s first ever in 44 games at Plattsburgh and completed a two-game weekend sweep for the Golden Eagles, moving them to 5-6-1 overall and 4-5-0 in conference play.
Look for a Letter to Santa this week to cap off a great and very exciting first half. Every coach needs the jolly elf to bring them something over the break, so let’s see how generous Mr. Claus will be this holiday season.