Weekend Recap, D-III East: December 2, 2019

Middlebury goaltender Brian Ketchabaw backstopped the Panthers to a thrilling overtime win over No. 1 ranked Norwich (Photo by Will Costello, WC Images)

Tournament play and rivalry games where just about anything can happen and usually does. Case in point, Middlebury knocked off in-state rival and No. 1 ranked Norwich in the first round of the Primelink tournament. Salve Regina lost to Utica in tournament play and Williams upset Geneseo in non-conference action. Lots of hardware handed out to tournament winners and several teams showed that their strong play is certainly trending consistency.

Here is this week’s recap of the terrific tournament and other action in the East:

Wentworth won the PAL Cup Tournament at Southern New Hampshire with a pair of resounding wins. On Saturday, George Gorodetsky scored two goals and added three assists for the leopards in a 7-2 opening round win over Massachusetts-Dartmouth. On Sunday, before a snow storm hit the Northeast, Wentworth captured the tournament tile with a 6-1 win over Morrisville. Defenseman Dante Flori led the way for the Leopards with two goals and an assist in the championship game.

After a 5-2 win on Tuesday night over Bowdoin where 10 players recorded a point, the University of New England played another non-conference rival in state with a Saturday win over Southern Maine. Ryan Bloom and Brett Mecrones each scored a pair of goals in the 7-2 win for the Nor’easters.

Demitrios Stefanou scored twice and goaltender Kyle Carducci made 26 saves for Western New England in a 5-3 non-conference win over Post.

Bryn Athyn picked up a pair of wins over NE-10 opponents. The Lions downed Stonehill 8-5 with Cameron Shorrock scoring two goals and adding an assist and teammates Tanner Congdon, Vojtech Luza and Zach Pamaylaon also chipped in three-point nights in the win. On Sunday, Bryn Athyn downed Post 5-3 with Nikita Smirnov scoring a goal and adding three assists to move the Lions to 5-2-1 on the season.

Anna Maria moved to 5-1-2 on the season with Tuesday’s win over Worcester State. In the 6-2-win, Jack Sitzman and Sam-Cyr Ledoux each had a goal and two assists to keep the AmCats on their winning ways.

Canton took both ends of an extended home-and-home series with Hamilton winning on Tuesday and then post-Thanksgiving on the road. The Kangaroos raced to a 4-0 lead on Tuesday with two goals coming from Jesse Farabee and held on to down the Continentals, 4-3. On Saturday, the Kangaroos were outshot by a 34-19 margin but rallied from a one-goal deficit in the third period to win 3-2. Kelly Routledge and Kyler Matthews scored for the visitors to earn the two-game sweep.

Jake Ratcliffe’s hat trick and Justin Alves’ three assists led the Westfield State Owls to a non-conference win over Johnson & Wales on Tuesday night. The 6-2 win leveled the season record at 3-3-2.

Salem State’s Joe Smith scored an extra-attacker goal at 18:46 of the third period to help the Vikings rally from a 3-0 deficit and earn a 3-3 tie with Southern Maine on Tuesday night. On Saturday, the Vikings again played the comeback kids sporting New England College a 2-0 lead before coming back to earn another tie with goals from Callum Hofford and Billy McGwin to extend their unbeaten streak to three games.

Franklin Pierce opened the holiday week with a 4-1 win over Framingham State before playing in the Steve Hoar Memorial Tournament over the weekend. The ravens continued their hot play with an opening round win over the host team, Becker. Five different players scored in the first period for the Ravens as they cruised to a 7-2 win. In Sunday’s title game against Wilkes, the Ravens again got out to a fast start with first period goals from Sean Crowley and James Morrissey. Goaltender Ian Wallace made that stand up as he turned away 45 shots in the 4-1 win over the Colonels to earn the Ravens the championship.

St. Anselm hosted their own tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend and opened with a big win over Wesleyan on Saturday. Ryan Spillane and Anthony Iacullo scored two goals each in the 7-1 opening round win for the Hawks. On Sunday, the Hawks faced unbeaten Trinity in the championship game. After a scoreless first period, the Bantams scored three unanswered goals in the second period on their way to a 4-1 win over the Hawks. Matt Chisholm, with an assist from Jack Murphy, scored for the Hawks and goaltender Nick Howard made 35 saves in the title game loss.

Skidmore played host to a holiday tournament and captured the title with wins over Brockport and Tufts to earn the title. Against Brockport, the Thoroughbreds fell behind 1-0 before scoring three goals in the opening 20 minutes of play. Brockport closed the gap to 3-2 before Matt Wolf and Mike Gelatt broke open the game with a shorthanded goal and an empty-net goal in the 5-2 win. On Sunday, Skidmore again fell behind early to Tufts. Second period goals from Matt Muzyka, Nicholas Charron and Matthew Rutigliano gave goaltender Brandon Kasel all the offense he would need to earn the championship win. Kasel finished with 32 saves in the 4-2 win.

Babson faced off against three NESCAC teams during the week picking up two wins and a tie. After downing Tufts 2-1 on Tuesday, the Beavers played an unbeaten Williams squad on Saturday and raced to a 3-0 first period lead. Andrew Holland scored twice and goaltender Brad Arvanitis made 41 saves to earn the shutout win, 5-0. On Sunday, Babson finished their NESCAC tour with a 1-1 tie at Amherst. Ryan Black tied the game in the first period and goaltender Aidan Murphy stopped 50 Mammoth shots to preserve the tie.

Middlebury pulled the stunner of the weekend when they downed previously unbeaten Norwich in the opening round of the Primelink Tournament hosted by Plattsburgh. The Panthers used 36 saves from goaltender Brian Ketchabaw and an overtime goal from Zach Shapiro to stun the Cadets, 2-1. In the Primelink championship game, the Panthers couldn’t quite pull off the upset over Wisconsin – Eau Claire who held off a Panther third period rally to earn the title with a 4-3 win. Emack Bentley and Shapiro’s late third period goals weren’t quite enough to catch the BluGolds.

In the Bowdoin-Colby Face-off, the Polar Bears came out as the top team after wins over Albertus Magnus and Massachusetts – Boston. Six different players scored, and goalie Alex Zafonte made 28 saves in the shutout win over the Falcons. On Sunday, Zafonte was again strong in net making 31 saves. Ethan Kimball’s goal with just 57 seconds remaining in regulation gave the Polar Bears the 2-1 win over the Beacons.

After an opening round 6-3 loss to Salve Regina in the Utica tournament, Oswego bounced back with a strong 8-0 win over Plymouth State in the consolation game on Saturday. Eight different players scored for the Lakers and Anthony Passero picked up three assists in the runaway win.

Geneseo hosted a pair of NESCAC schools over the weekend earning a split with Amherst and Williams. On Saturday, Tyson Empey’s shorthanded goal in the third period proved to be the game-winner in a 3-2 win over the Mammoths. On Sunday, there were a lot of goals in a seesaw battle between the Ephs and Knights. After Empey’s power play goal tied the game at 4-4, Williams’ Connor Kucharski broke the tie at the 12:32 mark of the third period and then sealed the win with an empty-net goal with just 53 seconds remaining in regulation. Evan Ruschil made 37 saves for the Ephs who were outshot 41-20 by Geneseo.

Fredonia used strong play and great play beyond overtime to earn the Castleton Invitational title. Against Curry, Anton Rosen made 28 saves in a 0-0 overtime tie that progressed through a 3-on-3 overtime session to a shootout where the Blue Devils’ Jasper Korican-Barlay scored in the second round to advance Fredonia to the title game. In a very up tempo final, Fredonia and Nazareth battled to a 5-5 overtime tie before Fredonia’s Victor Tracy knocked home a rebound shot in the 3-on-3 overtime period to give the championship to the Blue Devils.

Utica hosted a tournament that included three ranked teams. On Friday, the Pioneers outshot Plymouth State by a 43-20 margin but had only goals from Justin Allen and Joey Rustkowski to show for it. JR Barone closed the gap for the Panthers in the third period, but Utica held on for the 2-1 win to advance to the title game against Salve Regina. On Saturday, Utica again carried a big shot advantage over the Seahawks and scored twice early in the first period on strikes by Cameron Bartkoski and Dante Zapata. Brandon Osmundosn and Cameron Ott extended the lead to 4-0 in the second period and the Pioneers cruised to a 5-1 championship win.

Stevenson hosted teams from the west for the holiday weekend with games against St. Norbert and Lawrence. On Friday, a crazy game saw the Mustangs come back from 3-1 and 5-4 deficits to tie the Green Knights at 5-5 on a power play goal from Christian Ripley before Chris Lee’s game-winner at 13:33 of the third period. Ripley and Lee both had two goals each in the 6-5 win. On Saturday, the offense kept rolling for the Mustangs with Dominic Brenza picking up five points and Houston Wilson and Ripley scoring two goals apiece in the 8-3 win over Lawrence. The Mustang special teams accounted for five goals with three power play tallies and two shorthanded goals.

Three Biscuits

Brian Ketchabaw – Middlebury – recorded 36 saves including 19 in the first period for the Panthers who defeated No. 1 ranked Norwich 2-1 to open the Primelink tournament.

Jake Ratcliffe – Westfield State – the Owls forward opened the scoring against Johnson & Wales with two first period goals and completed his hat trick in the third period in a 6-2 win.

Dominic Brenza – Stevenson – picked up five points for the Mustangs on a goal and four assists to lead the offense in an 8-3 win over Lawrence.

Some great games everywhere this past weekend and tournament play certainly brings out the competitive spirit in all teams. The number of unbeatens is dwindling as are the number of games in the first half of the season to build some momentum.