East wrap: Jan. 7

Filling out the field for a holiday tournament never assures a host a home-ice trophy presentation, and this past weekend saw several ranked teams bitten by underdogs on their own ice as the host of their tournament. The University of New England and Manhattanville played spoiler this weekend against nationally ranked teams as the season of national parity continues across regions and conferences alike. Here is a recap of some of the notable games over the weekend.

Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament
The Nor’easters from the University of New England showed they could win games a couple of different ways over ranked opponents in winning the holiday tournament hosted by Norwich. On Friday, UNE showcased its offensive prowess by downing the No. 6 Geneseo Knights, 9-5. Ryan Bloom recorded four points with a pair of goals and a pair of assists, while eight players scored for the Nor’easters, who were outshot by a 60-26 margin. Tate Sproxton made 55 saves in the win. On Saturday, the Nor’easters showed they could win a low-scoring game by downing the defending national champion Norwich Cadets, 1-0, behind 42 saves from Ben Crutchfield, who was named MVP of the tournament. Jeff Eppright’s first-period power-play goal stood up as the game-winner, and the Nor’easters picked up their 10th win on the season.

Pathfinder Bank/Oswego State Hockey Classic Championship
The No. 3 Oswego Lakers were looking to rebound from their championship game loss at the Middlebury Classic last weekend. They won their opening round game over Skidmore 4-1, advancing to face a Manhattanville squad that tied Hobart 3-3 and ultimately won their place in the championship game by winning the shootout, 1-0. The Valiants got goals from Oscar Arfelt, Axel Walltott, Cory Anderson and Joel Knight to support Tyler Feaver’s 32 saves in goal in a 4-1 upset win over the host Lakers.

W. B. Mason Winter Classic at Plattsburgh
The host Cardinals were looking to jump-start their second half against a great field that included the No. 2 Endicott Gulls, Babson, and Tufts. On Friday night, a game with playoff-level intensity saw Endicott and Babson tied 1-1 after 60 minutes of regulation time followed by a five-minute session of four-on-four hockey and then another five minutes of three-on-three hockey. Babson’s Matt Pompa was immense in goal, making 46 saves and stopping all three Gulls attempts in the shootout to help the Beavers advance to the title game against Plattsburgh, which downed Tufts, 5-0. In the championship game, the Cardinals moved out to a 3-0 lead on a goal from Cole Stallard and a pair from Rich McCartney before the teams exchanged goals over the final four minutes for the 4-1 Plattsburgh win that evened their season record at 7-7-0.

Boston Landing Collegiate Invitational
The host Nichols Bison downed St. Thomas in the opening-round game behind 45 saves from goalie Colin Brennan and a pair of goals from JB Baker, who also assisted on Scott Cuthrell’s game-winning power-play goal. In the championship game, the Bison met Elmira, which downed Connecticut College in the first round, 3-1. In the championship game, Nichols raced to a 4-0 lead on a pair of goals by Chris Deming and single markers from David Chevrier and Baker. Brennan was again large in goal, making 37 saves, including 16 in the final period to hold off Elmira in the 4-3 win.

Canton hosted Chatham for a pair of games and took away a 6-2 win and a 2-2 tie. In the Thursday night win, Tyler Ralph scored a pair of goals for the ‘Roos, while Joey Vocino added a goal and a pair of assists.

Bryn Athyn hosted Curry for a pair of games over the weekend with the visitors taking both contests by scores of 3-2 and 6-1. Jared Kup and Kasper Kjellkvist led the Colonels on Saturday with two goals apiece, while Zachary White, Lionel Mauron, and Michael Snow all recorded three points.

The big game featured league leader Worcester State at Plymouth State on Saturday, and the game definitely did not disappoint. The game went back and forth for two periods with the Panthers’ Matt Volonnino giving the hosts a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes of play. Alec LeFave scored what proved to be the game-winner midway through the third period as the Lancers wouldn’t go away and pulled within one goal on an extra-attacker effort by Cody Weaver with just 35 seconds remaining. Worcester State couldn’t get the equalizer, and the Panthers held on for the 4-3 win.

A couple of streaks were broken this weekend as Wesleyan ran its unbeaten streak to nine games with a 6-1 win at Middlebury on Saturday. The Cardinals saw Vincent Lima score his first two goals of the season, while Alex Heinritz and Cameron Peritz also broke the ice in the win. On Sunday, the streak broke as they lost to a Williams team coming off a big 5-1 win over No. 3 Trinity by a close 3-2 score. The teams exchanged leads in the first period, which ended 2-2, and Robert Cellini’s goal for the Ephs just over three minutes into the second period was the last tally of the game as Michael Pinios made 22 saves in the final two periods to preserve the win.

In Maine, Hamilton swept a pair of games from Colby and Bowdoin by 3-0 and 5-1 scores respectively. In the win over the Mules, Evan Buitenhuis made 30 saves in recording the shutout, while Rory Gagnon scored his 10th goal of the season. On Saturday, Jason Brochu scored a hat trick and added an assist for good measure on the game-winning goal by Neil Conway. The win moved the Continentals to 9-2-1 overall and 4-2-1 in conference play.

Three Biscuits
Ben Crutchfield, University of New England: The goalie shutout Norwich with 42 saves in the championship game of the Northfield Savings Bank Tournament. The Nor’easters needed all of those saves in the 1-0 win.
Jason Recchia, Johnson & Wales: Recchia scored his first two goals of the season and added a pair of assists to figure in all the scoring for the Wildcats in the 4-3, come-from-behind victory over Stonehill. Recchia scored the game-winning goal with just a minute left in regulation.
Matt Volonnino, Plymouth State: He scored a pair of goals in leading the Panthers to a key conference win over Worcester State on Saturday. Volonnino’s goals gave the Panthers and early lead in the first period and recaptured the lead over the Lancers at the end of the second period.

The holiday tournament season is over, and the only thing that will change now is the continued surprises and game results that will be coming from conference battles and long-standing nonconference rivalries for the balance of the season.