We are now down to just a couple remaining games in the first half of the season, and teams are really trying to set themselves up for a positive semester break by playing some good hockey. If anything, the scores and results this week show a team isn’t out of it when they get down early. Comebacks have been plentiful, and last-second goals are becoming the norm this season. Here are some of the still crazy highlights from this past weekend.
University of New England and Suffolk played a goal-filled series over the weekend, with the Nor’easters picking up three points off a 7-2 home win and a 5-5 overtime tie. Andrew Slotnick, Ryan Burr, and Ryan Bloom each had three points in Friday night’s 7-2 win, while Slotnick added three more points in the tie on Saturday. Slotnick’s second goal of the game at the 12-minute mark of the third period gave the Nor’easters a 5-4 lead, but the Rams’ Tommy Bishop scored his second goal of the contest with the extra-attacker on the ice and just 16 seconds remaining to earn the tie.
Bryn Athyn moved to 5-4-0 in their inaugural season with an impressive 8-3 win over Lebanon Valley on Friday night. The Lions were outshot by a 38-28 margin, but scored six unanswered goals after surrendering Brian Hovenec’s power-play goal at the 10:32 mark of the opening period. The Lions went 3-for-7 on the power play and added a short-handed goal to win the special teams battle. Nikita Smirnov scored a pair of goals while five other teammates picked up two points in the win. Goaltender MacKenzie Chalmers made 35 saves to pick up his fifth win on the season.
Worcester State took on their closest competitor in the league standings on Thursday night and skated away with a 4-1 win over Massachusetts-Dartmouth. The win moved the Lancers to 8-0-0 on the season and 5-0-0 in conference play. After a scoreless first period, Nick Patullo got the Lancers on the board with an unassisted goal. Jeff Kirkwood answered for the Corsairs on a power play, setting up the all-important third period. Mike Moran was the star as he assisted on Andy DeAngelis’ goal just over halfway through the period that gave the hosts a 2-1 lead. Moran then scored twice for the final score.
The Lancers couldn’t maintain the win streak on Saturday as Fitchburg State pulled the upset 4-2 behind 35 saves from Kirby Saari and goals from Mike Fretz, Sascha Figi, and Nick DiNicola before James Gordon’s empty-net clincher.
Assumption picked up its first conference win on Tuesday night when they downed the visitors from St. Anselm, 5-2. Tommy Mahoney answered Michael Ferraro’s goal for the Hawks in the second period for a 1-1 tie entering the final 20 minutes of play. Matt Damelio scored the first of his two goals just over one minute into the third period, and Cam Laughlin scored the first of his two while shorthanded to give Assumption the lead for good. Laughlin’s second goal extended the lead, and Damelio’s second of the game was shorthanded into the empty net.
The Greyhounds weren’t finished with their hot road performance as on Saturday, in a rematch of last year’s NE-10 championship game, Assumption downed St. Michael’s, 4-2. Peter McDonagh broke open a 1-1 tie with his second-period goal, and John McDonagh scored the game-winner early in the third period, with an assist from brother Peter, who added an empty-net insurance goal. David Zulauf made 35 saves in the road win.
Massachusetts-Boston and Babson played a home-and-home series this weekend with both teams holding serve on home ice. The Beavers won on Friday night, 4-3, while the Beacons returned the favor in a crazy 7-5 game on Saturday. Eleven different players combined for the 12 goals in a game that was a see-saw affair for most of the game.
Hobart and Skidmore played their travel partner home-and-home as well with the Statesmen picking up a pair of wins, 4-2 and 3-2. Forward Jonas Toupal picked up three goals in the two games for Hobart, which moved them to 6-2-2 overall and 5-1-2 in conference play.
Middlebury broke into the win column by downing Tufts on Saturday, 2-0. Vincent Gisonti and Jimmy McKee scored first-period goals that goalie Stephen Klein made stand up for the win. Klein stopped all 37 shots he faced as the Panthers were outshot, 37-14.
Williams moved to 5-0-0 on the season with a pair of wins over Tufts and Connecticut College. The Ephs showed off a prolific power play in their 7-2 win over the Camels. Williams went 4-for-8 with the man advantage, including a pair of by David Italiano.
Hamilton dropped a pair of games at home to Trinity and Wesleyan by scores of 1-0 and 5-3. The losses dropped the Continentals to 0-2-1 in the conference.
Trinity faced a revved-up Amherst squad on Sunday after their hard-fought win over Hamilton. The Mammoths raced to a 3-0 lead when Phil Johansson scored just 16 seconds into the third period, but the Bantams would not go away quietly. Anthony Sabitsky and Charlie Zuccarini brought Trinity to within a goal midway through the period. That is when Saturday’s hero, Barclay Gammill did it again for the Bantams. Gammill’s extra-attacker goal with just eight seconds left in regulation earned the tie and kept Trinity unbeaten on the season.
Plattsburgh did not bask in the glory of their Primelink Tournament win for very long as a road trip to Buffalo State and Fredonia saw the Cardinals beaten handily by scores of 7-1 and 7-4, respectively. The losses dropped Plattsburgh to 2-5-0 in the conference and tied for seventh in the standings with Cortland.
The Red Dragons split their weekend series, dropping their Friday matchup with Brockport before taking down Geneseo in overtime on Saturday. The Knights had tied Oswego on Friday night 2-2 and were looking for a three-point weekend at Cortland. The Red Dragons took a 3-1 lead on a goal by Alex Storjohann in just the first 15 seconds of the third period, but the Knights rallied behind goals from Anthony Marra and Arthur Gordon to tie the game and send it to overtime. Just 54 seconds into the extra session, Tommy Nolan scored to give Cortland the 4-3 win.
As expected, it is already chaos in the UCHC standings as seven teams are separated by just three points. Neumann shares the top spot with Stevenson after downing the Mustangs 2-1 on Friday night. Stevenson outshot the Knights, 50-27, and got on the scoreboard first with Austin Swingle’s short-handed goal. Neumann answered with goals from Chris Ordoobadi and Liam Board before the end of the period, and that is all the scoring either team would allow. Anthony Pupplo was great for the visitors, recording 49 saves in the win. Both teams stand at 4-1-1 in conference play.
Game of the Week
In the rematch of last year’s NESCAC title game, Trinity again traveled to play Hamilton in a first-half showdown. If you were looking for a playoff-style game with great chances and goaltending from both teams, that is exactly what you got. Alex Morin out-dueled Evan Buitenhuis, with Barclay Gammill’s second-period goal being the only score of the game for a Bantams 1-0 win. The teams combined for 79 shots on goals, with Trinity having the advantage, 41-38, despite five power-play opportunities for the home team. The defense and goaltending were playoff-caliber for both teams. The win keeps Trinity unbeaten at 6-0-0, while Hamilton suffered its first loss on the season.
Nick DiVito, Morrisville: He scored every goal for the Mustangs in their 5-3 win over Canton on Saturday night. The five goals included three on the power play and a second-period hat trick as the Mustangs were outshot, 43-23, but cashed in with DiVito’s hot stick to win at home.
Cody Foster, Becker: The sophomore netminder stopped all 53 shots he faced in his first collegiate start as the Hawks downed Nichols, 2-0. The shutout was also a career first for Foster.
Zach Nieminen, Buffalo State: He scored a hat trick for the Bengals in their 7-1 win over Plattsburgh on Friday night. Nieminen gave the home team the lead in the first period before adding two more in the second period that gave Buffalo State a 6-0 lead in the runaway win.
Casey Miller and Mackenzie Cook, Salem State: In Saturday afternoon’s 9-4 conference win over Framingham State, Miller scored a goal and added five assists while Cook scored four goals and added a single assist. Oddly, every goal for both teams was scored at even-strength.
Playing for 60 full minutes — that is a key to virtually all coaches’ philosophies about effort on the ice. Some teams found that in the final period, while still others in the final remaining seconds to earn a positive result for their team. There is great hockey across every conference, so expect the upcoming and final weekend of play for most teams to be an adventure.