Men’s Hockey Ties Wesleyan, Defeats Defending National Champion Trinity
Issue   |   Wed, 12/09/2015 - 00:32
Eric Miller
Patrick Mooney ’18 netted his first goal of the season in Amherst’s weekend win over Wesleyan.

The men’s hockey team’s Saturday night contest against Wesleyan, which finished tied at 2-2, began as a battle. The teams played through the first period and most of the second before Amherst’s Kevin Ryder scored on a shot from the point, aided by the net-front screening efforts of his teammates.

The home team’s lead was widened to 2-0 halfway through the third period, when sophomore Patrick Mooney beat a Wesleyan defender with a toe-drag, fighting to make it to the slot, where he released a shot that beat goaltender Dawson Sprigings. This man-advantage goal was assisted by Thomas Lindstrom ’18 and David White ’18.

Wesleyan, down by two points with only 10 minutes remaining in the game, increased the pressure on senior goaltender Dave Cunningham and the rest of the Amherst team.

The Cardinals finished the game with 28 shots on net, almost half of which occurred during the third period. With this much momentum, they were bound to break through eventually. They did, at 13:09 in the third, when Chad Malinowski took a low percentage shot from the outside of the circle, beating Cunningham close to the ice.

With only a one-goal differential and nearing the end of the game, Wesleyan pulled Sprigings, giving themselves a six v. five man-advantage. The risk paid off when Jay Matthews put the puck in the net only 15 seconds before the final buzzer. In the five-minute overtime period, Wesleyan continued to attack in the Amherst zone, tallying four shots on goal to the home team’s two, but were ultimately unable to attain the golden goal.

Only a minute into Sunday’s game against defending national champion Trinity, Amherst found themselves down by one, thanks to a wrap-around goal by Trinity’s Sean Orlando. The purple and white were able to fight back during a power play soon after, when first-year Stanley Brenner received a pass from classmate Max Roche and sent a slapshot to the back of the net.

Amherst had two close chances in the second period, but neither team was able to break the tie. Seven minutes into the third, Topher Flanagan ’16 streaked down the left side of the ice and sent the puck to White for a quick one-timer that beat Trinity goaltender Nathaniel Heilbron just above his pad.

The next shift, however, the rebound from a shot from the corner caught Cunningham out of position and Trinity scored to tie the game for a second time.

After back-and-forth play for the next six minutes, the Amherst power-play unit broke through when Conor Brown ’16 collected the rebound from senior Theo Hannah’s shot and sent it dribbling over the goal line. The last few minutes of the game were played mostly below the net in the Amherst defensive zone, especially once Trinity pulled Heilbron, but Flanagan, with 30 seconds left, sent the puck out of the zone and all the way into the Trinity goal to seal the game at 4-2, lifting Amherst above the defending national champion Bantams.

Amherst has two NESCAC games slated for this weekend. They’ll host Williams on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. before again playing host to Middlebury the next day, starting at 3 p.m.