Well, here it is. The semester break is here, and after this past weekend there are no unbeaten teams remaining in the East. Yes, there are several teams unbeaten in conference play remaining, but overall, Trinity and Williams went down this weekend so there are no teams left without at least a one in the “L” column. The break is really good timing for teams that need to figure something out in their game or heal up from the injury bug, but bad timing for teams like Endicott, Colby, Amherst, and Utica which are rolling right now. Go easy on the holiday cookies, players; you will be back at it before you know it. Here are some of the highlights form the past weekend.
Endicott moved to 10-0-0 in the conference with a par of wins over Johnson & Wales. The first win on Friday night was the hard way, a 3-2 overtime victory, with Victor Carlsson scoring for the Wildcats late in the third period to send it to overtime. Logan Day netted the game-winner for the Gulls midway through the extra session. On Saturday, the Gulls took an easier approach on the road, posting an 8-0 win. Josh Bowes had two goals and two assists, while Daniel Kucerovy added a pair of goals and Ross Olsson had five assists in the offensive showcase.
Post stayed winless despite playing a very tight game with Worcester State on Friday night. Goals from Jake Raleigh and Brian Hurley on the power play had the visitors tied at 2-2 after the first 40 minutes of play, but the Lancers got third-period goals from Erik Pritchard and Andrew Ethridge for the 4-2 win. Post moves to 0-10-0 on the season.
An old rivalry that keeps surprising found Massachusetts-Dartmouth knocking off No. 5 Massachusetts-Boston, 5-4 in overtime. Defenseman Jerry Laakso scored a hat trick, including the game-tying goal and overtime winner for the Corsairs, while goalie Drew Michals made 51 saves in the upset win.
Southern New Hampshire traveled to Vermont on Friday night and beat St. Michael’s by a convincing 5-0 score. The visitors used goals by Kyle Vallere, Joseph Berardi, and Kyle Galloway in the first period to build a 3-0 lead and never looked back. Ryan Slatky made 24 saves in picking up the win and shutout for the Penmen, who moved to 3-2-1 in the conference with the win.
Norwich played travel partner Castleton on Friday night and the Cadets won 4-1, vaulting them back into first place in the NEHC, where just two points separate the top four teams. Payton Baldillez, Kale Kane, and Todd Jackson all scored second-period goals that broke open a 1-1 game and got Braeden Ostepchuk his fifth win on the season in goal.
In a nonconference battle of heavyweight teams, No. 11 Hobart traveled to No. 3 Trinity and took a win and a tie from the Bantams. As expected, both games were low-scoring affairs, with the Statesmen picking up the win on Friday, 3-2, after rallying from a 2-0 deficit. Ryan Lynch, Jonas Toupal, and Vincent Russo scored for the visitors, and Alexander Connal out-dueled Alex Morin in goal, making 34 saves for the win. On Saturday, Mr. Clutch, Barclay Gammill scored twice, including once again in the final minute of regulation to earn a 3-3 overtime tie.
Amherst remained unbeaten in conference play with a pair of wins, including a 1-0 win over rival Williams that handed the Ephs their first loss of the season. Phil Johansson’s second-period goal was enough for Connor Girard, who made 27 saves in earning his first win of the season. On Saturday, the Mammoths downed Middlebury, 4-1, behind a hat trick from sophomore Patrick Daly.
Hamilton finally got rewarded for playing some good hockey as the Continentals picked up a pair of wins to level their record in the conference at 2-2-1. Friday’s 4-1 win over Middlebury was followed by a 3-2 win over Williams where the Continentals twice came back from one-goal deficits. Brandon Willett score the game-winning goal midway through the third period, and Evan Buitenhuis didn’t allow a goal over the final two periods for the win.
One team that doesn’t want to see the break coming is the Colby Mules, who have won five games in a row, including a sweep of the home-and-home rivalry series with Bowdoin. This past weekend, the Mules dialed up a pair of wins at home to close out the first half. On Friday, Sean Lawrence made 31 saves in recording the shutout win over Connecticut College while, on Saturday, Cam MacDonald’s four goals led the way in a 7-3 romp over Tufts. The Mules are atop the conference standings at 5-1-0 at the break.
After a comfortable 7-1 win over Potsdam on Friday night, Oswego was ready for its grudge match with Plattsburgh on Saturday night. The Lakers didn’t waste any time taking the lead in the first period on a goal by Michael Gillespie. They built a 5-0 lead early in the third period before the Cardinals scored a pair for the 5-2 final score. The Lakers are tied with Geneseo atop the standings, while the loss drops Plattsburgh to 3-6-0 in the conference and 1-6-0 in their last seven league games.
Utica jumped to the top of the standings with a pair of wins over Stevenson and Neumann. On Friday night, the Pioneers needed Jacob Gerson’s overtime goal to overcome Jacob Caffrey’s 46 saves for the Mustangs in a 2-1 win. On Saturday, things went a little easier for Utica. Eight different players scored, and Brett Everson posted five assists in the 9-1 win over Neumann.
In the game pitting the UCHC’s new kids on the block, King’s and Chatham, it was the host Cougars who picked up their first program win, 2-1. Chris Lutz scored a pair goals and goalie Matt Calas stopped 27 of 28 shots for Chatham, surrendering only Nicholas Palumbo’s short-handed tally late in the first period.
Game of the Week
It was a big week for Massachusetts-Dartmouth as the Corsairs not only upset UMB over the weekend, they played a wild nonconference game with Franklin Pierce that finished with an 11-6 win. Jerry Laakso and Jonathan Ruiz each had four-point nights for UMD in a game that saw a combined 87 shots, five different goaltenders, and a third period with eight goals over the final 13 minutes of play. If you are a fan of big offense, this was the game of the week for you.
Jerry Laakso, Massachusetts-Dartmouth: Laakso scored a hat trick that included the game-tying and overtime winner for the Corsairs in their upset over Massachusetts-Boston, 5-4.
Cam MacDonald, Colby: The forward had a big afternoon in picking up four goals and a pair of assists for six points for the Mules in their 7-3 win over Tufts on Saturday.
Patrick Daly, Amherst: Daly scored a natural hat trick for the Mammoths in their 4-1 win over Middlebury on Saturday afternoon. Daly broke open a 1-1 game with a goal late in the second period before sealing the win with a pair of goals in the third period.
Travis Acker, Lebanon Valley: Acker scored four goals and added an assist in Friday’s win over King’s, 8-3. Acker scored a pair of goals at even-strength and two more on the power play.
Brett Everson, Utica: Everson recorded five assists on Saturday as the Pioneers downed Neumann, 9-1, to move to the top of the UCHC standings.
Ryan Bloom, University of New England: Bloom scored a hat trick, including the game-winning goal with just 10 seconds remaining in regulation as the Nor’easters downed Western New England, 6-5, on Friday night.
Chris Lutz, Chatham: The forward scored both Cougars’ goals in Chatham’s first ever win at the NCAA level. Chatham downed King’s, 2-1, to move to 1-7-2 in their inaugural season.
There are only a handful of games this week as most schools are into finals before the semester break. Many coaches will be wanting their teams to recharge for the second-half run, while others will look to refresh their team’s game entering the new year for more positive results. It has been a terrific and competitive first half, which only leads to wanting to see more of the same come the holiday tournaments and game action in 2018.