Men’s Hockey Struggles for Offense in Interterm Competition
Issue   |   Tue, 01/23/2018 - 22:54

Despite their strong start to the season, the Amherst men’s hockey team found themselves in a bit of a rut, concluding their interterm schedule with five losses and two wins and dropping to 7-6-3 overall.

“We’re creating a lot of quality chances,” junior forward Stanley Brenner said. “Sometimes the puck just doesn’t bounce your way. We’ll start finding the back of the net; we just have to be patient.”

Amherst concluded 2017 play with a nonconference tilt against Endicott College on Dec. 31. Ranked second in the country, the Gulls were heavily favored in the matchup. However, it was the Mammoths who struck first, as Jack Fitzgerald ’19 notched his first goal of the season early in the second period. Amherst maintained their one goal lead into the third period, but a goal from Endicott’s Jack Kilty ultimately forced overtime, where the Gulls found the back of the net once again to secure the 2-1 victory.

Two days later, the Mammoths traveled to New England College for another non-conference game. The Pilgrims got on the board first, but an impressive effort from Max Roche ’19 on the forecheck allowed Amherst to tie things up before the end of the first period. New England, however, proceeded to notch three unanswered goals, and Amherst walked away with 4-1 loss.

On Jan. 5, the squad traveled to Brunswick, Maine to face off against Bowdoin. The game was a turning point for the Mammoths, as they found the back of the net four times in the conference victory.

Back to back goals from Nick Bondra ‘21 in the first period sparked the Amherst offense, while Connor Girard ’18 made 32 stops in net in a 4-2 Amherst victory.

That success was short-lived, however, as Colby dealt Amherst its first conference loss of the season the following day. The Mammoths went up early, as senior captain Tyler Granara recorded his first goal of the season in the opening four minutes. Maintaining their one goal lead through the second period, Amherst seemed to be in a good position. Unfortunately, the third period was an entirely different game, as the Mules scored four times in the final period to earn the 4-1 win.

The next weekend, Amherst took on Tufts, which had not won a game in the NESCAC. Despite outshooting Tufts 33-23, Amherst once again found themselves in the loss column, falling 4-0.

The Mammoths then traveled to Conn. College the following day, and, at the end of the second period, Amherst was down by three. In the third period, the Mammoths came out firing, scoring an early power play goal from Fitzgerald before a short-handed goal from Joey Lupo ’20 brought Amherst within one of the Camels. Despite the effort, the Mammoths fell 3-2.

This past weekend, Amherst was scheduled to take on national powerhouse Hamilton. Three goals in the third period allowed Amherst to overcome the Continentals 4-1.

Amherst faced Babson on Tuesday in a non-conference tilt. The teams traded goals in the first period, but the Mammoths eventually won 3-1.

Amherst will next face off against Wesleyan on Saturday in an away contest, with an away game against Trinity the next day.