Men’s Hockey Earns Four Consecutive Wins, Improves to 5-1
Issue   |   Wed, 12/03/2014 - 01:11

The men’s ice hockey team was quite busy over the Thanksgiving break as it played five games and took home victories in four out of the five. Following a loss at Trinity, the Jeffs’ offense hit its stride and scored at least five goals in the next three games, all Amherst wins, and then defeated Nazareth this past Sunday at home in a 1-0 defensive showdown.

The Jeffs went into Connecticut against a high-powered Trinity offense that had scored seven goals in each of their past two games, and early on looked like they were going to match that firepower. After falling behind 1-0 just a minute into the first period, the Jeffs battled back to tie it up with a goal from Keenan Hodgson ’18 off of a pass from senior captain Jake Turrin on the power play. Trinity responded quickly, but then it was Amherst’s Brendan Burke ’16 who notched his first goal of the year to tie the game at two, off of an assist from classmate Patrick Arena. Trinity, however, was not done yet. Ryan Cole found the back of the net with just two seconds left in the period, his first of three goals on the night.

Amherst held strong for almost the entire second period, but Trinity managed to extend their lead with two quick goals with less than two minutes remaining in the period. The Bantams scored two more times in the third, and their strong offense put up its third consecutive seven-goal game. Trinity outshot Amherst 38-32 and had five fewer penalty minutes, two factors that contributed to their win.

The next day Amherst was back on the road at Wesleyan, and they were out for blood. Fueled by two power play goals in the first period, both from senior Dan Merenich, and both assisted by senior Aaron Deutsch, the Jeffs took a 2-0 lead into the second and didn’t let up.

In a chippy third with four Amherst penalties, the Jeff penalty kill held strong, and the Cardinals couldn’t score. Topher Flanagan ’16 then put the Jeffs up by three with four minutes left in the second.

Keeping the pressure up, the Jeffs scored twice more in third, the last scoring of the game that ended in a 5-0 win for the purple and white. Deutsch scored his first of the year and recorded one more assist in his impressive four-point showing. Conor Brown ’16, the Jeffs’ leading scorer last year, also got his first goal of the year when Amherst capitalized on their third power play of the night. Dave Cunningham ’16 also stood on his head as he made 37 saves.

On Nov. 25, the Jeffs headed north to take on St. Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont. Ultimately a 6-4 victory, Amherst’s power play once again shined with three goals out of five opportunities. The Jeffs shelled the Knights, outshooting them 41-25 on the evening.

The game was back and forth for most of the time, but Amherst pulled away in the third thanks to Brown’s game-winner, his second score of the game. Andrew Fenwick ’15 added an insurance score late in the third, and Mike Rowbotham ’15, Hodgson and Merenich also tallied goals.

This past Saturday, Amherst opened up at the famed Orr Rink against non-conference opponent Elmira College. Amherst dominated play, outshooting Elmira by 16, but going into the third the game was tied at three, thanks to scores from Flanagan, Merenich and David White ’18.

Amherst attacked early in the third. Brown scored, then Flanagan scored his second goal of the contest. Flanagan’s goal would eventually become the game-winner, despite the fact that Elmira scored with about a minute and half remaining to threaten purple’s lead. Jarryd ten Vaanholt had two assists for Elmira, his sixth and seventh of the season.

On Nov. 30, Nazareth and the Jeffs found themselves in a showdown in which the first score was the difference maker. Flanagan, continuing his hot play, scored 12 minutes into the first, recording what would go down as his second consecutive game-winning goal off of passes from Deutsch and White. The tightly contested match was not without opportunity for either side, but the scoring was prevented thanks to solid play from both goaltenders, especially Cunningham, who recorded 27 saves. Both teams had five power play opportunities, and Amherst outshot its opponent by six shots.

“Nazareth and Elmira play a little different style than we normally see and it was good for our guys to play against,” said Coach Jack Arena. “I’ve been happy with how we’ve worked and competed. Our execution is still in early season form at times, but we’ve worked hard enough to overcome that. Flanagan, Brown, Rowbotham and Turrin have played very well. This will be a tough weekend for us. Both Middlebury and Williams are among the more talented teams in NESCAC, and they’ll both be especially tough at home.”

The Jeffs will hit the road this weekend with an away game at Middlebury on Friday, Dec. 5., followed by a voyage to Williamstown to tackle the Ephs on Saturday.