Men's Hockey Skates to 4-1 Win Over Williams
Issue   |   Tue, 02/25/2014 - 22:46
Photo courtesy of Rob Mattson
Senior Brian Safstrom skates into the NESCAC tournament this weekend looking to build on his team leading 16 points.

The Amherst men’s ice hockey team finished their season by splitting a pair of away games at Middlebury and at Williams. Closing out the regular season on a high note with a 4-1 win over archrival Ephs, the Jeffs locked up the second seed in the NESCAC tournament.

The 3-2 loss to the Panthers on Saturday was Amherst’s first defeat in nearly a month. With the game knotted at zero throughout the first period, the Panthers got on the board first early in the second. Goalkeeper Dave Cunningham ‘16, who ended up facing 33 shots on the night, was unable to stop a strong wrist shot from the wing. It was the Panthers again who managed to tack on a power play goal about seven minutes later.

Up 2-0, Midd. had Amherst on the ropes until Chris Roll ’17 made an excellent individual play by picking off a pass near the point and skated down into the slot where he nipped twine for his third score of the season. The Jeffs had a good chance to even up the game with a 5-on-3 advantage, but solid goaltending from Midd. prevented the score.

The Jeffs tied the game up at 2-2 a little over a minute into the third when Conor Brown ’16, Amherst’s leading scorer, crashed the net to put away a rebound off of a Brian Saftrom ’14 shot. Despite good opportunities for both teams, the game remained scoreless until the Panthers scored their third goal of the night from a shot off the right circle. Amherst racked up 14 penalty minutes on seven penalties on the night, and Midd. capitalized on two of them, which proved to be the difference maker.

The Jeffs rebounded Sunday afternoon with a win over the Williams. The first period was scoreless, but Williams managed to get one by Cunningham a minute into the second period. Amherst struck right back after a clean faceoff win when Mike Cashman ’15 scored off a Topher Flanagan ’16 assist.

The game remained tied until halfway through the third when Safstrom won a faceoff, which was followed by a goal from senior Ryan Edwards. Just six minutes later, Amherst extended their lead when fellow senior Elliot Bostrom scored on an unassisted shot. Finally, it was Roll again to seal the victory over the Ephs. Cunningham finished with 28 saves on the night.

“We came out of this weekend with mixed feelings. Our approach on Friday night wasn’t what we had hoped for, but we rebounded nicely on Saturday. With the balance of our conference and the composition of our team, it’s essential that we be at or near our maximum effort level to be successful,” Coach Jack Arena said. “We’re excited to be starting the playoffs and have a huge test right off the bat. Conn. played as tough a game against us last weekend as we’ve had and is the hottest team in the NESCAC over the last month. There’s a desperation to games at this time of year and hopefully we’ll be ready for the challenge.”

The Jeffs hope to continue their strong play from the latter half of the season into the postseason when the take on Conn. College this Saturday at 7 p.m. in Orr Rink.