Four-point games are huge! The chance to pick up two points for a win against a key conference rival who doesn’t get them, that is a four-point game. Several big ones this weekend, but none more important than for Babson and Massachusetts-Boston visiting Hobart, where the visitors stunned the usually reliable hosts. Worcester State also turned the trick against Salem State, and these games will be highly important during the stretch run for playoff positioning and home-ice advantage. Here are some of the major highlights from this past weekend.
The top four of Endicott, Salve Regina, University of New England, and Nichols were all involved in non-league action this past week. The Gulls had the weekend off after a Tuesday night overtime tie with Tufts. Brian Brown staked the Jumbos to a 2-0 lead, but Endicott fought back with a second-period goal from Ross Olsson before Daniel Kucerovy tied it with a power-play goal in the final two minutes of regulation play.
Salve Regina played in the Martha’s Vineyard classic over the weekend and picked up two nonconference wins behind the offense of Paul Boutoussov and Jack Billings. Billings setup Boutoussov for both of his goals in a 2-1 overtime win over Neumann on Friday, and on Saturday, the pair triggered a four-goal third period in the Seahawks 5-3 win over Westfield State.
UNE continued its dominance in play against teams from Maine with a 4-1 win over Bowdoin, while Nichols beat Manhattanville behind a hat trick from Ian Spencer, 5-4. Spencer’s last two goals came just 25 seconds apart on the power play to give the Bison a lead that stood up.
Post broke into the win column in a big way on Friday night in the first of two games against Franklin Pierce. Forward Tyler Hackett recorded four points, including a hat trick as the hosts blew open a 4-2 game with four unanswered goals in the third period for the team’s first win of the season. The Ravens outshot Post, 45-37, but netminder Brandon Brown made 43 saves, including 35 over the final two periods for the win.
Bryn Athyn downed another first-year program in Chatham on Saturday, 2-1, to keep the Lions hovering around the .500 mark on the season. Alex Doyle and Julion Lever scored for the home squad, which leveraged 28 saves from Mackenzie Chalmers in goal for the come-from-behind win.
League-leading Plymouth State and Salem State recorded wins on Thursday, with the Panthers beating Fitchburg State, 5-3, while the Vikings downed Massachusetts-Dartmouth, 6-4, in an offensive game that saw a combined 92 shots on goal. Casey Miller scored the game-winner and added three assists for four points in the key conference win.
The Vikings couldn’t quite keep the momentum going on Saturday when they lost to Worcester State, 4-2. Four different players scored for the Lancers, who built leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in front of Josh Reinstein, who picked up his ninth win on the season, making 29 saves.
St. Anselm picked up a weekend sweep in NE-10 play with a pair of shutout wins over Stonehill. Shane Joyce made 58 saves in the two games to record the double whitewash, and Mike Ferraro scored three times for the Hawks, who moved to 7-7-1 overall and 4-2-0 in the conference.
St. Michael’s also picked up a pair of wins over the weekend over Assumption. The Purple Knights won the Friday night game, 2-0, behind goals from Jack Ouellette and Sam Finkelstein. Tim Decker recorded 24 saves in picking up the shutout. On Saturday, the path to victory was much more challenging as St. Michael’s rallied from a two-goal deficit to pick up the win, 4-3, on Keegan Finn’s late third-period goal.
Ryan Gouveia and the Babson Beavers had quite the weekend in their wins over Hobart and Skidmore. On Friday, Gouveia netted the game-winning goal for the Beavers to give the visitors a 4-3 win over Hobart. On Saturday afternoon, Gouveia scored a natural hat trick over the final two periods to lead Babson to a 4-0 win over Skidmore.
Massachusetts-Boston repeated the Babson’s trick over Hobart on Saturday when they downed the Statesmen by the same 4-3 score, but in overtime. Nolan Redler scored his 17th of the season with an assist from Colin Larkin just 52 seconds into overtime for the win.
Norwich avenged its only conference loss with a come-from-behind 3-2 win at New England College. Third-period goals from Coby Downs and Jordan hall rallied the Cadets from a 2-1 deficit and gave Tom Aubrun his third win of the season in goal. Aubrun made 36 saves, including 27 over the final two periods to stay undefeated on the season.
Williams is on one of those streaks again. After opening the season with five wins, the Ephs then dropped four in a row. They are now on another five-game win streak as they downed Manhattanville and Plattsburgh over the weekend to extend their newest run. The Ephs dropped the Valiants, 3-1, on Friday before dropping the Cardinals, 6-2. A four-goal even-strength outburst in the second period included goals from Roberto Cellini, Will Somers, David Italiano, and Tyler Scott and gave the home team a lead the Cardinals could not rally back from.
Trinity and Wesleyan continued their hot play over the weekend with a pair of wins over visiting Colby and Bowdoin. Trinity remains atop the conference standings following a 5-2 win over Colby and 4-1 win over Bowdoin. The Cardinals, who are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, downed the Polar Bears, 2-1, with Sean Ross scoring the game-winning goal with just four seconds remaining in regulation. On Saturday, Wesleyan made it a bit easier on themselves, dropping the Mules, 5-1, behind a pair of goals from Dylan Holze.
On Saturday, both Hamilton and Amherst found themselves on the wrong side of shutouts at the hands of Connecticut College and Tufts, respectively. Hamilton outshot the Camels, 33-9, but lost a 3-0 decision behind Camels goalie Connor Rodericks’ 33 saves. The Mammoths ran into a hot Nik Nugnes, who also made 33 stops in picking up his first win of the season in the Jumbos 4-0 win over Amherst. Sunday in the return matchups of the travel partner weekend, both Amherst and Hamilton again lost to Connecticut College and Tufts respectively by 3-2 and 5-3 scores.
In nonconference play, Oswego downed Nazareth, 5-1, on Saturday, with five different players scoring goals. The Lakers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Mitch Emerson, Trent Durocher, and Cameron Berry all scored within 2:18 of each other before the 10-minute mark of the game to help the Lakers cruise to the win.
Geneseo received a pair of goals from Andrew Romano, and the Knights downed Stevenson, 7-3. Goals from Tyson Empey, Carson Kelley, and Romano in the second period broke open a 1-1 tie.
Continuing the SUNYAC vs. UCHC weekend, Brockport downed Lebanon Valley, 5-3, with Ethan Solat breaking a 3-3 tie late in the third period and Aidan Verbeke icing it for the visitors with an empty-net goal.
Utica played a motivated Potsdam team on Saturday and ran into the Dylan Vander Esch show from the Bears. Vander Esch had a hat trick, and his team built a 3-1 lead, only to see the Pioneers rally with four unanswered goals late in the second and early in the third period to hang on for the 5-4 win.
Connor Powell scored a pair of goals and Spencer MacLean netted the game-winner just over the halfway mark of the third period to give Elmira a 3-2 win and weekend split with No. 15 Buffalo State.
Ian Spencer, Nichols: He scored a hat trick in leading the Bison to a big nonconference win over Manhattanville.
Ryan Gouveia, Babson: The Beavers forward scored the game-winning goal against Hobart and followed that up with a hat trick against Skidmore the next day.
Shane Joyce, St. Anselm: Joyce recorded back-to-back shutouts in two conference wins for the Hawks over Stonehill. Joyce stopped all 58 shots he faced over the weekend.
Dylan Vander Esch, Potsdam: Despite losing a 5-4 decision at Utica, Vander Esch picked up a goal in each period for a hat trick. The three-bagger gives him 10 goals on the season for the Bears.
There just continues to be great hockey played, regardless of whether it is in league play, a midseason tournament, or nonconference action, where teams are getting revved up for a return to league play. There really aren’t surprises anymore in the results, and the home team is not always the one playing with an advantage.