Men’s Hockey Finishes Regular Season With a Pair of Huge Conference Wins
Issue   |   Tue, 02/21/2017 - 21:50

The Amherst men’s hockey team closed out their regular season on a high note this week, with wins against NESCAC rivals Williams and Middlebury.

They conclude their regular season with a record of 14-6-3.

The purple and white played in front of packed stands on Friday night, Feb. 17, when they took on NESCAC leader and rival Williams and prevailed 1-0.

Tested early in the first period, Amherst’s standout goalie, Connor Girard ’18, made two huge saves to keep the game knotted at zero goals apiece.

Taking this momentum and running with it, sophomore Phil Johansson connected with classmate Jack Fitzgerald with three minutes left in the first stanza for a snap shot from the right hash.

The shot was on target but rang off the post after a deflection from the Eph goaltender.

Johansson set up yet another purple and white scoring chance halfway through the second period, sending the puck to one of the team’s leading goal scorers, junior forward David White.

However, the Eph’s blocked White’s shot on goal, and the affair remained knotted at zero.

Amherst broke the stalemate with nine minutes left in the second period as Steven Mallory ’19 stepped out of the penalty box to collect a pass from White. The sophomore streaked into the offensive zone to send the puck to Thomas Lindstrom ’18, who fired a shot over the shoulder of the Williams goalie to find the back of the net.

Girard held onto the one goal advantage for the purple and white as the third period saw a 8-5 Eph shot advantage.
With one final deflection as the clock wound down, Girard deflected his 26th shot of the game to earn the win for the purple and white.

Riding high from their triumph over Williams the night before, Amherst celebrated their Senior Day on Saturday, Feb. 18, honoring the graduating class of forward Chris Roll, defender Austin Ho and goaltender Adam Ellison.

When Amherst played Middlebury in December, two early goals in the first period from Patrick Daley ’20 took control of the game.

Additional goals from Johansson and Joey Lupo ’20 helped secure a 4-1 result. Amherst turned out to be equally prepared for the Panthers two months later as they cruised to an identical 4-1 win.

White struck first on an Amherst power play 11:31 into the game. Daly and Noah Gilreath ’20 provided the assists.

In a surprisingly back and forth affair, the remainder of the first period as well as the second saw nothing but penalties from both sides.

Middlebury appeared to make a nerve-wracking comeback with an equalizer from the Panther offense.

But Amherst was determined to cling to their lead, scoring just 14 seconds later.

Lupo collected a pass from Ho and careened it toward Fitzgerald for a quick one timer.

Ellison’s 18 saves in net helped squash Middlebury’s chances and keep the momentum with the purple and white.

Sophomore Stanley Brenner’s goal just a few minutes later from classmate John Festa gave Amherst the boost they needed, and a final individual effort by Daly safely put the game away.

Amherst will enter postseason play in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament this Saturday, Feb. 25.

The purple and white will face off against archrival Williams in Williamstown, Mass. at 3 p.m.