Men’s Hockey Set to Face Williams in NESCAC Semifinals after Routing Hamilton
Issue   |   Tue, 02/28/2012 - 22:31
Photo courtesy of Kate Berry '12
Junior Dylan Trumble scored the fifth of the Jeffs’ six goals against Hamilton. He was assisted by Ryan Edwards ’14 and Michael Cashman ’15.

Gunning for the program’s first NESCAC title in three years, the men’s hockey team surged into the conference semifinals with a dominating 6-0 win over Hamilton last weekend.

The NESCAC-leading Jeffs (21-3-1, 17-1-0 league) — ranked No. 3 in the nation — will face off against Williams at Orr Rink on Saturday afternoon, with a berth to the championship game on the line.

In Saturday’s quarterfinal matchup, the Jeffs overwhelmed Hamilton with their speed, aggressive forecheck and suffocating defense. Amherst scored two goals in each period and outshot Hamilton by a 35-19 margin, trapping the Continentals in their own zone for long sequences.

“I felt we played a very good game against Hamilton. We skated and competed for the full 60 minutes and had excellent performances up and down our lineup,” head coach Jack Arena said. “Our intensity and execution was what you’d hope for during a playoff game.”

The Jeffs pulverized Hamilton with a balanced scoring attack — a recurring trend this season — as six different players netted goals for Amherst. As testament to the roster’s tremendous depth on offense, the Jeffs rank second in the NESCAC in scoring output (4.05 goals per game) despite having just two players (Mike Moher ’13 and Aaron Deutsch ’15) inside the league’s top-20 in points.

The Jeffs quickly imposed their aggressive, high-tempo style of play against Hamilton, creating a flurry of scoring opportunities in the opening period to secure a 2-0 lead.

After nearly hacking in a rebound near the goal-mouth 10 minutes into the period, co-captain Eddie Effinger ’12 put Amherst ahead 1-0 by netting a wrist shot from the right circle at the 12:28 mark. The Jeffs doubled their lead just 1:38 later, as defenseman Jake Turrin ’15 fired a slap shot from the point through a screen for his first collegiate goal.

The Jeffs continued to skate circles around the opposition in the early stages of the second period, but Hamilton goaltender Joe Quattrocchi made several impressive stops — stoning Moher on a breakaway attempt, before pulling off a flashy glove save on Nick Brunette ’13 — to keep his team in the game.

Quattrocchi, however, could not contain the Amherst onslaught forever, as the Jeffs scored two goals in a span of 1:31 midway through the second period to seal the result. After an ill-advised Hamilton line change handed the Jeffs a 2-on-1 odd man rush, Moher skated the puck into the slot before lifting a backhand into the upper corner for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
Amherst put the dagger in Hamilton’s upset bid with a shorthanded goal 91 seconds later. Foraying into the offensive zone on the penalty-kill, Michael Cashman ’15 tested Quattrocchi with a wrist shot from the left side; the Continentals’ goaltender failed to control the rebound, and Brunette fired the loose puck into the net.

Junior Dylan Trumble pushed the lead to 5-0 after netting a wrist shot with 6:27 remaining in the third period, and Johnny Van Siclen ’13 capped the scoring with a goal at the 17:03 mark.

Goaltender Jonathan La Rose ’12 continued his steady play between the pipes, recording 19 saves to post his fourth shutout in eight games. In his past eight starts, La Rose has stopped 217 of 222 shots, compiling a save percentage of .977 in that stretch.
Fresh off a decisive victory, the Jeffs will battle against Williams (12-8-5, 8-8-2 league) in the NESCAC semifinals this Saturday, at 4 p.m. The Ephs, seeded fifth in the tournament, squeezed out a 4-3 overtime victory at Tufts last weekend.

As the No. 1 seed, Amherst will host the final two rounds of the conference tournament. Middlebury and Bowdoin face off in the other semifinal on Saturday, while the championship game is scheduled for Sunday, at 2 p.m.

Amherst swept Williams in the regular season series, as the Jeffs held on for a 5-4 home victory on Dec. 9 before picking up a 3-1 road win two weeks ago, on Feb. 18.

While Amherst nearly doubled the Ephs’ point total in the regular season (34 to 18), the Jeffs are prepared for a bitter, hard-fought contest.

“Williams has an excellent team with an excellent goalie. They are a very good skating team and match up well against us,” Arena said. “We need to play at our best if we want a chance to win the game.”
“We know we’ll see their best.”