Men's Hockey Rides Four Game Win Streak into the Postseason
Issue   |   Wed, 02/25/2015 - 00:23

Men’s ice hockey came away with two big victories this past weekend to send the team into the NESCAC playoffs as the second seed in the conference. Amherst will ride a four-game win streak into playoff action. Friday night, the Jeffs faced a potent Middlebury team, but shut them down with a 4-0 win. Saturday afternoon, in a big rivalry game with playoff implications, the Jeffs again persevered as they overcame a two-goal deficit to the Ephs to win 5-3.

The first period of the Middlebury game was a tight matchup with opportunities for both teams. It was Amherst who scored first, as first-year David White continued his stellar play by adding his 14th goal of the season at the 9:32 mark, with the assists going to Aaron Deutsch ’15 and Topher Flanagan ’16.

The second period was equally close, but it was again the Jeffs who were the ones to find the back of the net. Around the halfway point of the period, Thomas Lindstrom ’18 beat the Panther net-minder to notch his fifth goal of the year. Tyler Granara ’18 and Mike Rowbotham ’15 assisted on the play.

Amherst had to keep up the momentum going into the third with a two-goal lead, and they did exactly that. White continued his offensive explosion by popping his second goal of the game just over a minute in, and even then he was not done scoring. White tallied his hat trick goal with five minutes left to play, finishing the game with a season total of 16 goals. Conor Brown ’16 assisted on one of the goals, and Flanagan and Deutsch got their second points of the game as well from White’s goals. The Amherst penalty kill was extremely successful, as they killed off all five of Middlebury’s power plays.

Danny Vitale ’15 continued his solid play between the pipes, and finished the game with 25 saves and a shutout to boot.
The next day, Amherst was back at it in famed Orr Rink for their final game of the regular season against Williams. The Ephs came out hot and took a two-goal lead, the first of which came on a power play.

Amherst didn’t back down though, as they worked to get back on the board before the period ended. It was White again to score on the power play, with assists coming from Lindstrom and king-disher Deutsch, and the purple and white cut their deficit down to one heading into the intermission.

The second period was filled with chances as Amherst racked up 12 shots on goal, while the Ephs shelled Vitale with 15 shots in the frame. But the Jeffs’ defense held, and senior Andrew Fenwick put the puck in the back of the net for his fifth goal of the year, assisted by Patrick Mooney ’18 and Dan Merenich ’15. The second period ended tied at two.

The Jeffs found their stride in the third period. They took the led 22 seconds into when Chris Roll ’17 scored on the power play, assisted by seniors Mike Cashman and Jake Turrin. Three minutes later, Granara extended the lead with assists by Rowbotham and Kevin Ryder ’16, and the play also marked the first-year’s first career first goal. Finally, Brendan Burke ’16 threw in the dagger third goal of the period to give Amherst a 5-2 lead, thanks to good passing from Ryder and Lindstrom. Williams scored a goal with 15 seconds left to make the final score 5-3.

Amherst finished with a 14-8-2 record in regular season play, and 10-7-1 in league play. With a second seed finish, the Jeffs will be hosting No. 7 Middlebury this upcoming weekend starting at 1 p.m. in Orr Rink for the quarterfinal round of the 2015 NESCAC championship tournament.