Men's Hockey Wins back-to-back Games against NESCAC Competition
Issue   |   Wed, 02/17/2016 - 00:38

The men’s ice hockey team had one of their best weekends of the year, defeating NESCAC rivals Tufts and Connecticut College at Orr Rink on successive days. These victories secured a winning league record of 7-6-3 for the purple and white.

The team faced its tougher challenge to open the weekend, against the seventh-ranked Tufts Jumbos. The purple and white managed to eke out a tight 2-1 victory over their formidable opponents. Amherst struck first when Austin Ho ’17 slid a pass across to Chris Roll ’17 on the left dot. Roll’s goal highlighted a strong night for the junior forward during which he recorded a game-high seven shots on net.

Poor discipline and strong penalty killing from the two squads characterized the second period. Each team had three man-advantage chances during the period, but neither power play unit could score. An exciting moment came when sophomore Will Vosejpka’s shot was turned away by Tufts netminder Mason Pulde, but the second period remained scoreless.

Just a couple minutes into the last period, Jumbo Sean Kavanaugh was called for a hooking penalty. During the ensuing man advantage, the struggling Amherst power play finally broke through with a spectacular Thomas Lindstrom ’18 shot from the high slot; assists were given to Conor Brown ’16 and Tyler Granara ’18.

Toward the middle of the period, Tufts’ Stewart Bell was able to pull his team within one, renewing hope with his unassisted rebound goal. Jumbos head coach Pat Norton called a timeout in order to pull his goaltender. Unfortunately for Norton and his team, the extra skater did not give enough of an advantage for Tufts to tie the game. Sophomore Connor Girard put in a strong performance, and tallied 33 saves enroute to his third win of the season.

Amherst encountered Conn. College, ranked last in the NESCAC, the next day. The senior night game was aptly named, and five Amherst seniors led the purple and white to victory with strong showings. Senior goalie Dave Cunningham ended the night with 18 saves, earning him a 4-3-4 record on the season.

Senior captain Brendan Burke opened the scoring in the second stanza. With 7:05 left in the period, Burke received a pass from Roll and senior Pat Arena before beating Conn. College netminder Tom Conlin with a shot from the slot. 35 seconds later, Brown and Topher Flanagan ’16 combined to add another Amherst score when Brown finished off a Flanagan pass. These two goals broke the seal of the game, and led to a quick offensive exchange between the two teams.

The next two minutes would see two more goals — one for each team. Tim DiPretoro put the Camels on the board, but 40 seconds later first-year Max Roche regained the two-goal lead for the purple and white. The assist went to David White ’18 for his beautiful pass that gave Roche a one-on-one opportunity against the goalie. Although the Camels put the most pressure on Cunningham in the middle period, unleashing 13 shots on net, they nonetheless entered the third period down 3-1.

Amherst completely took over in the last 20 minutes, allowing only three shots to reach Cunningham and adding another goal to seal the win. Sophomore Patrick Mooney took a one-timer from his spot on the blue line, completing a dominant home victory for the purple and white.

Amherst travels to both top-ranked Williams and close rival Middlebury next weekend. The team faces Williams at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20 before finishing the regular season against the Panthers on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.