Saturday, January 24, 2015

Conference scores 1/23/15

Tufts (6-8-1; 3-5-1 NESCAC)           3
Wesleyan (2-13-0; 1-8-0 NESCAC) 1
Box Score Recap

Brian Brown (F, '18) put in his team leading ninth goal on an empty net to seal Wesleyan's eighth consecutive NESCAC loss since beating the same Jumbos in the season opener. Stewart Bell (F, '16) and Blake Edwards (D, '15) also had tallies with Andrew White (F, '15) assisting on both goals. Robby Habirson (D, '17) had the only Cardinals goal on the evening.

Tufts now has the tough task of taking on the undefeated (in conference) Bantams of Trinity on Saturday. Wesleyan welcomes a Conn College team that has lost its last two to Hamilton and Trinity after a seven game unbeaten streak. The Camels beat the Cardinals 5-2 opening weekend in New London.

Colby (5-9-2; 2-7-2 NESCAC)          2
Williams (10-3-2; 6-2-1 NESCAC)   4
Box Score  Recap

Williams outshot Colby 37-15 and scored three unanswered goals to overcome a 2-1 deficit towards the end of the 2nd period. Sam Parker (G, '15) stopped 33 Ephs shots but lost for the first time in conference this season to fall to 3-2-0 overall. Sean Dougherty stopped 13 to move to 8-3-1 on the season.

George Hunkele lead off the scoring in the first for the Ephs, but Devin Albert (F, '17)'s team leading eleventh and twelfth goals gave the visiting the Mules the lead with seven remaining in the second. Following up on his hat-trick against third ranked Plattsburgh last Saturday, Craig Kitto (F, '15) scored his team leading ninth goal to tie the contest up with less than 1:30 to play in the 2nd frame. Hunkele would add his second of the game in the third and Frankie Mork (D, '17) would put in a tally for the insurance goal.

The Mules head to Middlebury on Saturday for a matchup with a Panthers team that they tied 2-2 in Waterville earlier this season. Does Sam Parker get two NESCAC starts in a row for the first time this season? Williams welcomes a Bowdoin squad that they tied 3-3 in Maine opening weekend in a game that featured no penalty calls.

Hamilton (5-6-4; 4-4-2 NESCAC)    1   
Amherst (11-3-2; 7-3-0 NESCAC)   3
Box Score Recap 

Brendan Burke (F, '16) potted an empty netter to seal the second 3-1 Amherst victory over Hamilton this season. Barring a matchup of the two squads in the playoffs, Lord Jeff seniors will graduate with a 9-0-0 record against the Continentals.

Amherst took a 2-0 lead into the third period off late goals in the 1st and 2nd by Dan Merenich (F, '15) and Mike Rowbotham (F, '15), respectively. Amherst and Hamilton both went 0-2 on the power play but the Rowbotham goal shortly after a man advantage expired with some nice bing-bang-boom puck movement in the offensive zone. Hamilton's lone goal came from a Brad Smelstor upper-90 snipe from the left circle fourteen minutes into the third.

The Continentals - who were outshot 31-25 on the evening but held the shots advantage 11-7 in the final frame - maintained the offensive pressure the rest of the third, but were never able to beat Danny Vitale (G, '15), who improved to 4-2-2 on the season with a 2.07 GAA and a .929 Save%. The Jeffs only dressed two goaltenders as starting goalie Dave Cunningham (G, '15) is likely out for an extended period with a hip injury. Cunningham left last Friday's loss to Conn College in the third period due to the injury.

On the other end, Hamilton freshman Evan "Boots" Buitenhuis (G, '18) made his first start since leaving a November 28th matchup with Utica due to a concussion suffered after being run by a Pioneer. Boots took his first collegiate loss to fall to 1-1-1 but has a 1.45 GAA and .957 Save% in the small sample size of 207 minutes. Speaking of goalies, the refs whistle definitely wasn't frozen when it came to freezing the puck (AMIRITE?). The whistle was blown on several occasions when the netminders never even had full possession of the puck.

Hamilton returns home for their non-conference finale against Franklin Pierce Satruday night in the only OOC game on the NESCAC schedule. They are hosting 80s nights, so we kindly suggest that the Conts show up to the rink dressed as Patrick Bateman. The Lord Jeffs are off the rest of the weekend. Enjoy the beverages, boys.

Bowdoin (9-4-3; 4-4-3 NESCAC)   2
Middlebury (6-6-3;3-3-3 NESCAC)  2
Box Score   Recap 

Jason Nawrocki (F/D, '18) scored a goal with Max Fenkell (G, '15) pulled at the 18:38 of the 3rd to pull the Polar Bears even with the Panthers at two. It was the first collegiate goal for Nawrocki, who now has four games under his belt on account of the injury to Bowdoin third-leading scorer Matt Lison (F, '18).

Ryan Collier (F/D, '15)'s goal 15 seconds into the game was quickly matched by the Panthers power play goal two minutes later on a Collier cross-checking call. Evan Neugold (F, '16) scored the power play tally, the only such goal on Middlebury's six man advantages, which included an OT opportunity on a questionable boarding call on Matt Rubinoff (F, '16). The Panthers took the 2-1 lead early in the third on Mike Najaar(F, '17)'s fourth of the season.

Max Fenkell (G, '15) rebounded in conference from being pulled in the first of last weekend's 4-3 come from behind victory over Wesleyan to stop 34 of 36 Panthers shots (he also won out of conference against UNE this week). Reigning NESCAC POTW Stephen Klein (G, '18) stopped 17 shots to move to 5-4-1 on the season.

Bowdoin travels to Williams on Saturday with freshman Peter Cronin (G, '18) likely in net. Coach Meagher switched it up with Fenkell back-to-back starts last weekend but went to Cronin in the first period of the second game. Fenkell hasn't played against the Ephs since stopped 23 of their 24 shots to win the 2013 NESCAC tournament championship. For Middlebury, they host a Colby squad that they tied opening weekend with Liam Moorfield-Yee (G, '16) in net. Klein has since solidified the Panthers starting job having started the last eight straight.

Conn College (6-7-2; 3-5-1 NESCAC)   1
Trinity (13-1-1; 8-0-1 NESCAC)            3
Box Score  Recap

Trinity scored three third period goals, including two on the power play, to erase a 1-0 Conn College lead after two periods. Ryan Mowery (F, '17) scored for Conn in the second while usual suspects Sean Orlando (F, '17) and Jackson Brewer (F, '15), and not so usual suspect Tim Shea (F, '15) scored for the victorious Bantams. Mike Hawkrigg (F, '16) had two assists to move just eleven points away form the 100 point club.

Nate Heilbron (G, '16) stopped 21 shots to move to 10-1-1 while Tom Conlin (G, '16) stopedd 29 shots to fall to 5-6-2. On Saturday, Trinity welcomes a Tufts team they dominated earlier this season while Conn looks to get back on track at bottom dweller Wesleyan.

Winter Storm Iola is blanketing the northeast with snow as NESCAC teams look to get red hot as all teams are now in the second half of the season. Red Hot Chili Peppers "Snow (Hey Oh)" 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Conference Finals 1/17/15

More on Middlebury's huge non-conference weekend later, but first we start with the four NESCAC games from yesterday. 

Matthew Melanson celebrates Bowdoin's game winner in a
4-3 come from behind victory against Wesleyan.

Trinity (12-1-1; 7-0-1 NESCAC)    6
Colby (5-8-2; 2-6-2 NESCAC)       3
Box Score   Recap

Trinity's leading scorer, Ryan Cole (F, '17) had three points (2-1-3) and the Bantams went a perfect 2/2 on the power play en route to remaining the only unbeaten team in conference.  Liam McKillop (F, '15) put Trinity up 3-1 late in the first and the Mules would never to get within one. Nate Heilbron (G, '16) made 27 saves to move to 9-1-1 on the season while Emerson Verrier (G, '18) stopped 16 of 20 shots to fall to 0-6-1. Jordan Nathan (G, '15) relieved him in net for the third and stopped 10 of the 12 shots he saw.

Ultimately wins and losses are the only stats that matter, sure, but coaches,fans, pontificators, et. al. are always looking for more meaningful stats to evaluate performances. The average box score (goals,assists, saves, etc.) has value, but can be very limiting. The sabermetric revolution in baseball has trickled to other sports and the NHL has  Corsi and Fenwick (we have Fenwicks in the NESCAC, too) to try to have more meaningful and all-encompassing stats. This week, Colby assistant coach Chris Hall had a post about how he tries to evaluate the performance of  his Mules, including using absolute +/-. You should give it a read, or a looksie, or at least a gander.

Conn College (6-6-2; 3-4-1 NESCAC)   1
Hamilton (5-5-4; 4-3-2 NESCAC)          3
Box Score  Recap

Conn College's Adam Patel (F, '15) got called for slashing with 1:40 remaining and Hamilton's Pat Curtis sealed the game with an empty net power play goal to complete the first four point weekend in Continental coach Rob Haberbusch's 3 1/2 year tenure.

Special teams were the decider in the third after the two teams ended the second tied at one. Marko Brelih (D, '15) put in an absolute snipe shot past Tom Conlin (G, '16) from the right point just eight seconds after the Continentals went on their first power play of the afternoon 7:41 into the final frame. It was  Brelih's fourth goal of the year, all on the power play. Less than three minutes later, the Continentals surrendered a five minute power play when Nicholas Vassos (F, '15) got whistled for a spearing call right off the faceoff. Hamilton had a stellar five minute penalty kill clogging lanes and dumping the puck down the ice. The Camels went 0/4 on the power play on the afternoon.

Conn College outshot Hamilton 31-19 with Conts frosh Tim Nowacki (G, '18) making 30 saves to earn his first collegiate win and move to 1-1-1 on the year. All four of the goalies on the Hamilton roster have now won a game this season. Starting goalie Evan Buitenhuis (G, '18) dressed for the first time since a November concussion against Utica, but did not play. The Continentals win gives them ten points - their total output in the 2013-14 season - in the first half of the season. With the Conts conceivably contending for a home playoff game, when do they bring back Buitenhuis from injury? Perhaps next week in their non-conference game against Franklin Pierce.

For Conn, the loss snaps a seven game unbeaten streak (5-0-2)  overall and a three game unbeaten streak in conference. Conlin stopped sixteen of the eighteen shots he faced to fall to 5-5-2 on the season.

Tufts (5-8-1;2-5-1 NESCAC)            2
Amherst (10-3-2; 6-3-0 NESCAC)  
Box Score   Recap 

David White (F, '18) scored two goals, including the game winner with 26 seconds remaining, to help lift Amherst past Tufts and rebound from the Jeffs third period collapse against Conn College on Friday. Mason Pulde (G, '18) made 37 saves in defeat to fall to 3-6-1 while Danny Vitale (G, '15) made 30 saves to improve to 3-2-2 on the season. Amherst starter Dave Cunningham (G, '15), who left the Conn College game in the third period due to injury, did not dress for the Jeffs.

Wesleyan (2-12-0; 1-7-0 NESCAC)    3
Bowdoin (8-4-2; 4-4-2 NESCAC)      4
Box Score  Recap  

Bowdoin scored four unanswered goals in the 2nd and 3rd period to erase a Wesleyan three goal lead after one period of play. The Polar Bears snapped their five game conference losing streak (04-1) without their three top scorers (Quinn, Lison, McGinnis) thanks to senior Tim Coffey (F ,'15) stepping up for two goals in the third period to tie it and Matthew Melanson (F, '18) putting in what proved to be the game winner 11:29 into the third. For the Cardinals, sophomore Quinn Oujevolk (F, '17) scored the first two goals of his collegiate career.

Besides the top three scorers being out, coach Terry Meagher broke his rotation by starting Max Fenkell (G, '15) in net back-to-back days. Fenkell gave up three goals on 12 shots and was relieved by Peter Cronin (G, '18) after the third Cardinals goal. Cronin stopped all 21 shots in 43:28 of action to improve to 3-2-1. Dawson Sprigings (G, '17) made 25 saves to fall to 2-10-0. For pictures of the game from Benet Pols, check out our Facebook album.

To win in this ultra competitive, wide open conference, Canadian and American boys must band together to become NESCAC men. Here's Canadian Dallas Green (Alexisonfire, City and Colour) and American pop star Pink, in their folk collaboration, You + Me, with "Open Door". 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Conference Finals 1/16/15

In non-conference action, Williams tied Manhattanville and Middlebury upset #3 Plattsburgh 3-1. In conference action, Hamilton and Colby rolled at home, while Conn College used five third period goals to upset Amherst and Trinity remained unbeaten with a road win over Bowdoin. 

Wesleyan (2-11-0; 1-6-0 NESCAC)    2
Colby (5-7-2; 2-5-2 NESCAC)           5
Box Score    Recap 

Colby scored three unanswered goals in the second and third periods to win their second straight NESCAC game after going winless in their first seven. Five different Mules scored, including Kai Frankville (D, '17)'s first of the season and fellow blueliner Chris Kennedy (D, '16)'s first of his college career. EJ Rauseo (F, '17) had three points (1-2-3) to end the night in the Colby lead for season scoring with 19 points (8-11-19). Sam Parker (G, '15) moved to (3-1-0) with a 19 save affair in his first home conference start of the season. Geoff Sullivan (D, '17) missed the game with an upper body injury.

The reeling Cardinals dropped their seventh straight and sixth straight in conference. Any chance of a comeback was killed with seven minutes to play and Wesleyan down 4-2 as Marty Rubin (D, '18) earned a game misconduct for hitting from behind.  James Kline (F, '17), who has almost twice as many points as any other Cardinal this season, scored his team leading eighth and ninth goals. Dawson Sprigings made 20 saves to fall to 2-9-0 on the season.

Trinity (11-1-0; 6-0-1 NESCAC)      2
Bowdoin (7-4-2; 3-4-2 NESCAC)      1
Box Score   Recap 

Trinity scored a pair of late first period goals, which proved to be enough as the ninth ranked Bantams remained unbeaten in conference and avenged last season's NESCAC semifinals upset loss to the Polar Bears in Hartford. As our own Benet Pols tweeted, neither of the goals would make any highlight reel, but they got the job done. Nate Heilbron (G, '16) made 33 saves to improve to 8-1-1 on the season. Everyone knew Trinity would contend for a 'Cac title this season with their offense, but the question that remained was their defense and Heilbron in his first year as the full time starter. In the first half, they have posted the best GAA (1.67) by far in the conference and their 2.0 GAA in all games is good enough for seventh in the country.

The Polar Bears are now winless in their last five (0-4-1) conference games. Superfrosh Matt Lison (F, '18) missed the game leading to a shakeup in the lines. Bowdoin didn't take any penalties on the evening, but they also went 0/3 on the PP and couldn't get onto the board until the final minute of the third period. Max Fenkell (G, '15) made 30 saves to fall to 5-2-1.

Conn College (6-5-2; 3-3-1 NESCAC)     6
Amherst (9-3-2; 5-3-0 NESCAC)               4
Box Score  Recap  

Conn College scored five third period goals to erase a 2-1 deficit after two periods of play. The upset was the first win by the Camels over the Lord Jeffs since November 2008 and the first time the two teams met since a hard fought 4-2 victory for Amherst over Conn College in last season's NESCAC Quarterfinals. The loss was the first this season for Amherst at Orr Rink.

Amherst starting goaltender Dave Cunningham (G, '16) left the game with an injury after the fourth Camel goal at the 7:39 mark of the third and Conn College up 4-3. Danny Vitale (G, '15) gave up two goals on two shots to fall to 2-2-2 on the season (too many 2s). Tom Conlin (G, '15) made 22 saves to move to 5-4-2. For his three stars, Amherst announcer Jugh Campbell chose the Jeffs' Conor Brown (F, '16) at the third star spot for a short handed tally; the Camels Joe Giordano (F, '17) for his two assists at the two spot and Ryan Mowery (F, '17) at the one spot for two tallies. It was the Westminster product''s first two goals of the season and first multi-goal goal game in his collegiate career with Conn College.

Tufts (5-7-1; 2-4-1 NESCAC)           3
Hamilton (4-5-4; 3-3-2 NESCAC)   5
Box Score   Recap 

Hamilton scored four third period goals including an empty netter to seal a 2-1 lead after two periods, their first win at Sage this season. The Conts led by two after two last Friday as well before giving up two goals in nine seconds in the third to end up tying Bowdoin. The Continentals were led tonight by Pat Curtis (F, '15) with four assists and Kenny Matheson (F, '16) and Scott Vasquez (F/D, '16), who had two goals apiece (nevermind the box score, Carkeek wasn't even on the ice  for that fourth goal). Zach "Arnie" Arnold (G, '15) had 35 saves for his first win of the season (1-2-2) and his second collegiate win (both against Tufts). Mason Pulde (G, '17) made 31 saves to fall to 3-5-1.

Both of these teams missed the playoffs last season but have had much better prospects so far as the first half winds down. A win tomorrow over Conn College would give the Continentals as many points (10) in half a season as in 2013-14, while Tufts has already matched last season's conference point total and surpassed last year's win total. For the Continentals, they'll need some more secondary scoring to make a push in the second half. Their top line (Murden, Matheson, Curtis) each have at least fourteen points, while no one else on the team has more than five. It will also be interesting to see how the team looks when (if?) Evan Buitenhuis (G, '18) ever returns from the concussion he suffered in a non-conference game against Utica in November.

The Bromide is said every year: the NESCAC is a competitive league. This year it is as true as all get out. You see those standings tonight? Well they are subject to change every weekend.  All Get Out -"Subject to Change"

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Conference preview 1/10/15

Tufts and Conn College each have non-conference tilts tonight, but the bulk of the action today is in conference. I've been watching the Foo Fighters' "Sonic Highways" docuseries so each game gets a FF song, mostly from that album, because why not?

Colby (3-7-2; 0-5-2 NESCAC)   at Hamilton (3-4-4; 2-2-2 NESCAC) 
3 PM Clinton, NY

Colby looks for for their first win in conference and outside of Maine after a loss to Amherst last night. Today offers an opportunity in their first game outside of New England this season and against a team they swept last season. They last met in Clinton in February of 2014 with Colby taking the game 3-2 on an OT goal by now graduated Ben Chwick (F, '14). Hamilton senior Pat Curtis (F, '15) scored both goals for the Conts in that tilt.

Sam Parker (G, '15) stopped 31 of 33 Hamilton shots in that game, but the senior netminder has only played twice this season and never in conference. Does the last goalie to get Blaise MacDonald a conference win get a shot tonight? On the other end, Zach Arnold (G, '15) was shaken up a bit last night after a collision with a Bowdoin attacker in the Conts 4-4 tie. Does he start again today? Both teams will look to cut back on the penalties as they enter the game as two of the three most penalized teams in the 'Cac.

Colby's looking for the first conference win and Hamilton's looking to climb the NESCAC ladder after missing the playoffs last season. So, we present the Chicago inspired song from Sonic Highways, "Something from Nothing". 

Bowdoin (7-2-2; 3-2-2 NESCAC) at Amherst (8-2-2; 4-2-0 NESCAC)  
3 PM Amherst, MA
Live Stats Video 

*will not repeat line about Bowdoin and Colby outside of Maine* Bowdoin heads into Amherst with a three game conference winless streak (0-2-1) against a hot Amherst team that has had as impressive a (2-0-2) stretch as one could have in a four game stretch with two ties. It's also the first time the two teams have met since a 3-2 double OT win in Hartford gave Bowdoin the 'Cac conference crown last March. 

The goalies in that epic might not play today. Max Fenkell (G, '15) played in last night's tie against Hamilton and Coach Meagher usually uses a rotation. Dave Cunningham (G, '16) dressed last night but rested as Danny Vitale (G, '15) earned the 5-1 win over Colby. Whoever does start should be ready on special teams as the game features two of the three best power plays in conference games. 

Ok it's not off Sonic Highways, but in honor of last year's conference final lengthy epic, here's the Foo Fighters "Matter of Time" 

Middlebury (3-6-2; 2-3-2 NESCAC)  at Wesleyan (2-9-1; 1-4-0 NESCAC) 
3 PM  Middletown, CT

Both teams come in to the game licking their wounds after 3-1 losses last night. The teams split last year's head-to-to head with Wesleyan earning a 2-1 victory in Middletown last February. It was also their last conference win at home as Dawson Sprigings (G, '17) made 29 saves in victory and current Cardinals leading scorer James Kline (F, '17) contributed a tally. The Panthers second leading scorer, Jake Charles (F, '16) had the only Middlebury goal in that contest.

Wesleyan is currently on the outside of the NESCAC playoff situation and Middlebury is on the outside of the top half of the league, where they had spent their first 14 years of NESCAC conference play. 

Williams (8-2-1; 5-1-1 NESCAC) at Trinity (9-1-1; 4-0-1 NESCAC) 
4 PM  Hartford, CT
Live Stats  Video 

The marquee matchup of the weekend almost exactly a year after Williams defeated Trinity at Frozen Fenway in January of 2014. The Bantams won the last outing though, downing the Ephs 2-1 in Hartford in February of 2014. The winner of this one gets the temporary bragging rights for first place in the conference.

Trinity has been known for their offense the past season and-a-half, but in a small sample of five games they are also the best defense in conference, allowing just 1.6 GAA in conference. Williams clocks in at number two with a 2.14 GAA. If this game is close late - and it likely will be - Trinity holds a gawdy +10 differential in the third period in conference games.

There's a lot of season left, so in no way is either team in the clear for the top spot, but the winner of this one gets a bit of a head start. Here's the Foo Fighters "In the Clear" recorded at the famous Preservation Hall in New Orleans.

Conference finals 1/9/15

Colby (3-7-2; 0-5-2 NESCAC)        1
Amherst (8-2-2; 4-2-0 NESCAC)  5
Box Score   Recap

Amherst scored two goals within six seconds of one another in the second period to break a 1-1 tie and the Lord Jeffs never looked back. Senior Aaron Deutsch (D, '15) had his first multi-goal collegiate game earning a game high three points (2-1-3) and garnering Jeffcast announcer Hugh Campbell's First Star of the game. Reigning NESCAC POTW Danny Vitale (G, '15) had 27 saves to improve to 2-1-2 on the season with a .937 Save% and 1.94 GAA. The Jeffs also went a perfect 2/2 on the power play.

Colby remains winless in conference games as well as in contests played outside the state of Maine. Quebecois freshman Phil Klitirinos (F, '18) scored his first collegiate tally while Jordan Nathan (G, '15) made 35 saves in defeat.

Williams (8-2-1; 5-1-1 NESCAC)    3
Wesleyan (2-9-1; 1-4-0 NESCAC)   1
Box Score   Recap 

Three different Ephs scored as Williams avenged last February's 7-3 loss in Middletown. Dylan Holze (F, '18) scored for the Cardinals, who haven't won in conference since an opening night victory over Tufts. Sean Dougherty (G, '15) made 25 saves to improve to 6-2-1 while Dawson Sprigings (G, '17) made 26 saves to fall to 2-7-0.

Bowdoin (7-2-2; 3-2-2 NESCAC)    4
Hamilton (3-4-4; 2-2-2 NESCAC)    4
Box Score   Recap

Tim Coffey (F, '15) scored two goals within nine seconds of one another in the third period to complete  his first collegiate hat trick and erase a 4-2 Hamilton lead after two periods. Brandon Willet (F, '18) scored the first two collegiate goals to pace the Continentals, who are now 0-6-2 against Bowdoin in Rob Haberbusch's four year tenure as coach. Bowdoin remains winless outside the state of Maine (0-2-1) and along with the Colby the Maine teams are a combined 0-6-2 away from the Pine Tree State.

Zach Arnold (G, '15) made 38 saves for his second straight tie to move to (0-2-2) on the season while Max Fenkell (G, '15) moved to 5-1-1 with 33 saves. Evan Buitenhuis (G, '18), who made a splash earning NESCAC POTW honors after his first weekend in net for the Continentals, missed his seventh straight game to a concussion.

Though the game started at 7 PM it actually ended after the 7:30 Trinity/Middlebury game thanks to the OT and a ten minute delay in the first as a pane of glass on the boards was fixed. The delay left ample time for the NSN announcer to reach for filler in not only his first Hamilton broadcast, but his first hockey broadcast in general. He admitted at one point that he did not know how to pronounce NESCAC until the night of the game. Oh well.

Middlebury (3-6-2; 2-3-2 NESCAC)     1
Trinity (9-1-1; 4-0-1 NESCAC)             3
Box Score    Recap 

Three different Bantams scored and Nate Heilbron (G, '16) turned aside 20 shots as Trinity remained the only team in the 'Cac unbeaten in conference play. Speaking of conference play, it is still early, but it looks like Middlebury will likely finish fourth or lower for the third straight year in the final conference regular season standings. In the first 13 seasons of conference play from 1999-2012, the Panthers never finished below third. As they allude to in their intro the Middlebury episode, the New England Hockey Journal is eight years late on doing an episode on Middlebury in its glory days.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Conference Preview 1/9/15

Welcome back 'Cac. After a whirlwind slate of non-conference action from January 2nd - 6th (more on this later), the NESCAC returns to conference action tonight with all teams except for Tufts and Conn College in action. 

Bowdoin (7-2-1; 3-2-1 NESCAC) at Hamilton (3-4-3; 2-2-1 NESCAC) 
7 PM  Clinton, NY
Video Live Stats

Bowdoin was the only NESCAC team to not play a game last week, as they haven't taken the ice since a December 9th victory over non-conference opponent Southern Maine. The weekend prior to that, Bowdoin lost both of its games at Tufts and Conn College to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten. The 11th ranked Polar Bears look for their first win outside of the state of Maine against the Continentals, a team that has gone 0-6-1 against Bowdoin since Rob Haberbusch took over as coach in the 2011-12 season. 

Hamilton is currently winless in their last four (0-2-2), although their last game was a hardfought 1-1 tie against nationally ranked UMass-Boston in the consolation game of the Codfish Bowl in Boston on Monday. Zach "Arnie" Arnold (G, '15) made 41 saves to earn the tie. One of four Cont goalies that has seen action this season, he's likely to get the start tonight as Evan Buitenhuis (G, '18) continues to recover from a concussion suffered in November. On the other end, it's likely Max Fenkell (G, '15)'s job between the pipes. 

Williams (7-2-1; 4-1-1 NESCAC) at Wesleyan (2-8-0; 1-3-0 NESCAC) 
7 PM  Middletown, CT

12th ranked Williams heads to the Nutmeg State fresh off a sweep out west in which they disposed of Gustavus Adolphus and St. Olaf. They split their last conference action with a loss at home to Hamilton and a win over rival Amherst in early December. The host Cardinals haven't played a conference game since a November 22nd loss to Amherst and went 1-5 in their out-of-conference schedule in 2014-15. Despite being underdogs, Wesleyan hopes to re-kindle som3-2-0e of the magic from last February in Middletown when they blewout the normally stingy Ephs, 7-3.

Colby (3-6-2; 0-4-2 NESCAC) at Amherst (7-2-2; 3-2-0 NESCAC) 
7 PM    Amherst, MA
Live Stats  Video 

Colby, the only team winless in conference this season, heads to Amherst looking for both their first win in conference and their first win outside the friendly confines of Maine. The Mules are coming off a blowout win against Salem State in which coach Blaise MacDonald's son, Cam MacDonald (F, '18) had a five point (3-2-5) affair. Despite their record, observers have noted that the Mules are no pushovers. None other than Vermont broadcasting legend George Commo said Colby skated with top-ranked Norwich as well as any team had against the then undefeated Cadets (Norwich would defeat Colby 3-0 but lose to Platty just a day after earning the top ranking in the nation from USCHO).

It will be interesting to see if senior Sam Parker (G, '15) gets a chance in conference action tonight. Last year's starter, Parker saw no action this season until last weekend at Norwich. On the other end, a nicked up Dave Cunningham (G, '16) stood on his head to help the 14th ranked Lord Jeffs knock #4 Babson from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 44 save shutout on Tuesday.

Middlebury (3-5-2; 2-2-2 NESCAC) at Trinity (8-1-1; 3-0-1 NESCAC) 
7: 30 PM    Hartford, CT
Live Stats    Video 

The Panthers head into Hartford to face off against 10th ranked Trinity, the only team still undefeated in conference games this season. The Bantams haven't played in conference since a November drubbing off Amherst with Trinity going 5-1 in their non-conference schedule. Middlebury will need strong goaltending play to stop the high-flying Bantams offense. A normally tumultuous merry-go-round, the Panthers netminding situation seems to be Steve Klein (G, '18)'s to lose. The freshman has made the last three starts in net and has posted a 2-3-0 record on the season with a .922 save% and 2.63 GAA. Coach Bill Beaney's squad last won in Hartford in February 2012 with a 3-0 shutout of Trinity. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Non-Conference Finals 12/5 - 12/12

NESCAC MIH ended in 2014 with Hamilton's 3-3 tie at home against Cortland on Friday night. Earlier on Tuesday, Bowdoin came back from a 1-0 deficit in the third to blowout University of Southern Maine. Last weekend while the rest of the league had conference Wesleyan was swept in the empire state. 

Friday December 12th 
Cortland (5-6-2; 3-5-1 SUNYAC)  3
Hamilton (3-3-2; 2-2-1 NESCAC)  3
Box Score  

Both teams scored two power play goals apiece as Hamilton closed out the 2014 NESCAC MIH calendar with a non-conference tie with the Red Dragons. Neither team played a particularly crisp breed of hockey as Continental freshman Tim Nowacki (G, '18) made 27 saves in his first collegiate minutes and start. Starting goaltender Evan Buitenhuis (G, '18) did not dress again after suffering a concussion in a loss to Utica back on Thanksgiving weekend.

Four Continental goalies have now seen action this year. Nowacki looked solid enough, save a soft third goal to give the Red Dragons the lead  back shortly after the Continentals tied it 13:45 on a one-time goal from Kenny Matheson (F, '16) on a feed from Robbie Murden (F, '17). Hamilton would earn the tie thanks to a Pat Curtis (F, '15) goal on a feed from Murden. Tyler Bruneteau (F, '18) tipped in a Marko Brelih (D, '15) blast from the point in the second period for the first Cont goal.

Hamilton is now 0-1-1 at Sage Rink this season and 0-4-1 in their last five at home dating back to last February. They travel to Boston for two games at the Codfish bowl to kick off 2015 before returning home for nine of their final fourteen games.

Tuesday December 9th 
University of Southern Maine (1-9-0; 0-7-0 ECAC-East)  1
Bowdoin (7-2-1;3-2-1 NESCAC)                                       4
Box Score Recap

Bowdoin scored four third period goals to erase a 1-0 Huskies lead after two periods and stay undefeated in the state of Maine. Bowdoin came back to the Pine Tree State following a surprising 0fer against traditional NESCAC doormats Tufts and Conn College the weekend prior.

Coach Meagher rested several of his seniors including McGinnis/Quinn/Palumbo as Bowdoin rolled to victory in the third on the strength of Chris Fenwick (F, '16)'s first two tallies of the season. USM goalie Kyle Shaprio (G, '18) keptt the Huskies, who were outshot 32-16, in the game in the first two periods before the floodgates opened. Shapiro became so frustrated in the third that he broke his stick after repeated voluntary poundings of his stick against the ice and post after the third Polar Bear tally.

Bowdoin has a long break, as they don't play the first weekend of January like the rest of the 'Cac. They'll return to action against Hamilton/Amherst on January 9th and 10th looking for their first win outside of the state of Maine.

Friday December 5th                                                                Saturday December 6th 
Trinity (5-1-1; 3-0-1 NESCAC)   1                                         Trinity (6-1-1; 3-0-1 NESCAC)    4
Utica (3-5-2; 0-4-1 ECAC-W)     0                                          Hobart (6-4-0; 4-2-0 ECAC-W)     3
Box Score   Recap                                                                    Box Score   Recap 

On Friday night, Trinity ruined Utica's "Teddy Bear Toss" at the Utica Memorial Auditorium with Nathaniel Heilbron (G, '16)'s first career shutout. In nine previous installments of the toss (fans toss teddy bears to donate to charity after UC's first goal), the Pionners had a 7-1-1 record and had always scored first. The only tally came in the first on Sean Orlando (F, '17)'s fifth of the season.

On Saturday, two Elliot Vered (F, '16) goals in the third period lifted the Bantams past Hobart. Freshman goalie Alex Morin (G, '18) stopped 33 of 34 stops for the win. He was replaced for ten minutes in the second by Heilbron, who gave up two of the three Statesman goal, after Morin received a 10 minute game misconduct penalty.

The Bantams return to action the first weekend of January to wrap-up their non-conference schedule against Plytmouth State and Western New England.

Friday December 5th                                                              Saturday December 6th 
Wesleyan (2-5-0; 1-3-0 NESCAC)   1                                     Wesleyan (2-6-0; 1-3-0 NESCAC)  6
Hobart (6-3-0; 4-2-0 ECAC-W)        4                                    Elmira (4-4-2; 2-2-2 ECAC-W)       7
Box Score   Recap                                                                    Box Score  Recap

Wesleyan dropped a pair in upstate New York last weekend, including a shootout in Elmira in which they outshot the Soaring Eagles 51-26. The Cards open 2015 at the Salem State tournament in an opening round game against a Wentworth team that has already lost handily to Bowdoin and Colby.