Mens Hockey Starts Season 5-1
Issue   |   Tue, 12/03/2013 - 23:55
Photo courtesy of Public Affairs Office
Sophomore goalie Dave Cunningham has been rock solid in goal. He has only given up seven goals on the season and has a .94 save percentage. The Jeffs will look to continue their strong play as they face conference rivals Middlebury and Williams.

The Men’s Ice Hockey team certainly managed to keep themselves busy over the break.

They defeated two NESCAC rivals, Trinity and Wesleyan, and shut out St. Michael’s College at Orr Rink.

They then traveled to Babson College where they were dealt their first loss of the 2013 season.

Both Amherst and Trinity were undefeated coming into their game on Saturday night.

The Bantams got off to a hot start and managed to get the first score of the game from Sean Orlando, and they then continued to attack throughout the rest of the period.

The Jeffs were outshot 10-3 in the first, but came out the more dominant team in the second, managing to hit the net 14 times to Trinity’s five shots.

The Amherst penalty team was solid all night and even generated a solid amount of offense.

While killing two penalties halfway through the second, senior captain Andrew Kurlandski managed to generate a turnover and took it down to score a shot-handed goal in an excellent solo effort.

Early in the third, the other senior captain Brian Safstrom notched a power play goal to give the Jeffs the lead, with assists by Chris Roll ’17 and Topher Flanagan ’16.

This would prove to be the game winner, and Safstrom then was able to add the insurance short-handed empty-netter, assisted by Conor Brown ’16, with under a minute to go in the game.

The next afternoon, the Jeffs took on Wesleyan once again at Orr Rink.

They got off to quick start, with Erik Hansen ’14 scoring under two minutes in off of an assist by Theo Hannah ’16.

Tommy Hartnett of Wesleyan tied the game up a few minutes later, but Amherst continued to keep up the pressure and Ryan Edwards ’14 broke the tie with 3:59 remaining in the period. Hannah got another assist on the play, and Patrick Arena ’16 received one as well.

In the second it was only the Jeffs who would get on the board, as Kurlandski was able to tally his second goal of the weekend about four-and-a-half minutes in, with assists by Kevin Ryder ’16 and Elliot Bostrom ’14.

Edwards then got his second goal of the game in third, with assists by Andrew Fenwick ’15 and Jake Turrin ’15.

The Jeffs took home the 4-1 victory, and were able to outshot the Cardinals 32-25 despite the fact that they managed to rack up ten more penalty minutes than their opponents.

Dave Cunningham ’16 added two more wins to his name that weekend with excellent play in both games.

On Tuesday Nov. 26, the Jeffs took on St. Michael’s College, once again at Orr Rink.

A major penalty against St. Mike’s fueled the Jeff’s quick start in the first, as the power play unit was able to tally two goals around five minutes into the period.

Aaron Deutsch ’15 was able to score off a shot from the point with assists by Flanagan and Mike Rowbotham ’15.

Then it was Kurlandski who tipped a Ryder shot in the slot to give the Jeffs a two goal lead just a minute later.

During the second period the ice was still tilted in Amherst’s direction as they managed to outshoot their opponents by five shots in the frame.

Edwards gave the Jeffs a three goal lead 7:12 in, with Fenwick attributing an assist to his name on the play.

Daniel Merenich ’15 scored his first goal of the season five minutes later with Roll receiving the assist on the play.

There was no scoring in the third, and Amherst was able to shutout the Purple Knights, who were handed their sixth loss of the season.

Johnny Russell ’14 made 24 saves in his first start of the year, and the Jeffs did a good job staying out of the penalty box, racking up just four penalty minutes on the game.

The Jeffs traveled to Babson College last Saturday to take on the No. 7 Beavers.

Both teams were undefeated coming into the game, and it was a hard-fought game on both sides.

Babson’s power play unit was ranked second in the country coming into the game, and they made their presence felt early on.

After a questionable penalty call on Brendan Burke ’16, the Beavers took an early lead, as Michael Phillips was able to beat Cunningham with a shot from the wing.

Amherst outshot Babson in the second, but penalties would prove to be the Jeffs’ kryptonite as Babson was able to score a second power play goal 16:22 into the second period.

This goal would prove to be the last scoring of the game, with neither team able to find the back of the net in the third.

Cunningham’s impressive 26 saves were not enough as Amherst lost their first game of the year.

Coach Jack Arena was proud of his team’s play throughout the break and is looking to continue their promising season despite their latest setback.

“We’ve played pretty consistently throughout the past four games. We were able to get production from our entire lineup, which is what we’re looking for,” Arena said. “Cunningham has continued to play well and Russell played very well in the shutout of St. Mike’s.”

The Babson game will hopefully prove to be a learning experience for the Jeffs.

“Against the best teams opportunities are hard to come by and you need to take advantage of them,” Arena said.

The Jeffs will look to do that this weekend with two crucial home games against Middlebury and Williams as Amherst looks to continue it’s strong conference play.

This Friday night, the Panthers will be coming into Orr Rink, where the 2013 Jeffs have yet to be defeated. They have a record of 3-1-2 and have been tested by a trio of overtime games, despite only having played six games so far.

Middlebury held off a strong third period run by the Jeffs to defeat them in the NESCAC quarterfinals last year, so both teams will be fired up for the rematch.

Meanwhile, the Ephs will be in Amherst on Saturday afternoon. They have managed to retain an undefeated record, although they do have one tie.

Williams was able to knock off Babson College last weekend, although they were playing well-rested whereas the Beavers were worn-down from a tough game against our Lord Jeffs.

The Ephs also managed to edge Amherst at the end of last year, so this game will be an equally important statement, in addition to the intense rivalry between schools.

These two teams are top-tier in the NESCAC and this weekend will allow all teams involved to test their mettle.

If last year’s games are anything to go by, there is going to be some exceptional hockey going on this weekend.