WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams Ephs (8-5-3, 5-2-3 NESCAC) tied the Colby Mules (7-4-4, 6-3-3 NESCAC) 3-3 this afternoon at the Lansing Chapman Rink. Junior David Italiano had two goals and one assist on the game to bring his team back from being down the majority of the game. Colby's senior Geoff Sullivan had two goals on the game.
Williams came into this match with an 8-5-2 overall record and a 5-2-2 record in the NESCAC. Colby came into this match 7-4-3 overall, sporting a 6-3-2 conference record. Last night the Ephs defeated Bowdoin 5-4 here at the Lansing Chapman Rink. Colby defeated Middlebury last night 4-3 on the road.
In net for the Ephs this afternoon was sophomore Michael Pinios. This marks a shift in starting goalie for the Ephs; junior Stephen Morrissey has been the starter for the previous five games. Pinios comes into this match with a .874 save percentage.
In net for the Mules was freshman Andre Tucci, who came into this match up with a .914 save percentage. Tucci has been the go to netminder for the Mules this season, this game marking his 11th game.
The last time these two teams met was November 19, 2016, Colby had a decisive 4-1 victory over Williams.
At 14:05 of the first period, Williams freshman Wyatt Glover was called to the box for interference, giving the Mules their first power play opportunity of the game. The Mules came into this match with a conversion rate of 20% on the man advantage.
Immediately following the successful penalty kill for the Ephs, the Mules were able to get on the board first in this match. Freshman Mark Leprine (sixth assist) fired off a shot from the lower right circle. Pinios made the initial save, however the rebound came right back out to the lower right area of the zone, to the stick of sophomore Nick O'Connor (seventh goal), who was able to sneak one through Pinios's lower glove side. This was the sole goal in the first period, the teams going into the locker rooms with the Mules ahead 1-0.
With just :13 remaining in the first period, Colby's senior Jack Burton was called to the penalty box for holding, giving the Ephs 1:48 left on the power play to start the second period.
After the first period, shots were 11-4 in favor of the Ephs.
The Mules successfully killed the power play to start the second.
The first half of the second period marked the Ephs needing to remain strong on the penalty kill. Back to back penalties called against the Ephs (the first against senior Tyler Young at 2:56 for cross checking, the second against senior George Hunkele for holding at 8:15) kept them on the defensive. However in the latter half of the period, there was a switch in momentum, the puck remaining in the the Williams offensive zone for the majority of the time remaining.
The Ephs continued the pressure through the end of the period. At 14:17, Mules junior Dan Dupont was called to the box on account of hooking, giving the Ephs a man advantage opportunity. While they were unable to convert, they kept control of the game to the buzzer.
After two periods of play shot count was 25-8 for Williams.
"We didn't want to change anything," Williams head coach Bill Kangas stated regarding the team's play heading into the third period. "We were getting chances [in the second] but we just weren't converting. I thought we played one of our better games this afternoon. Our Grade A chances were very high, and I thought we defended well, so overall it was a pretty good team effort."
At :25 into the third period, Colby's senior EJ Rauseo was called to the penalty box for interference, giving the Ephs another power play opportunity.
At 1:49 into the third period, the Ephs were able to convert on the man advantage to get the equalizer in this match. David Italiano (12th assist) was able to get a shot off from the lower right circle. Tucci had trouble containing the shot, and was out of the crease to make the save, allowing for Italiano's classmate C.J. Shugart (tenth goal) to find the back of the net with his rebound shot. Senior Sam Gray (ninth assist) also earned an assist on the play. This brought the game to a tied score of 1-1, with the majority of the period remaining.
Williams scored their second unanswered goal at 6:44 to take the lead for the first time in the match. David Italiano (13th assist), from the left wing, fired a high shot towards the net, which sophomore Roberto Cellini (ninth goal) intercepted with a redirect to be able to get one past Tucci. Sam Gray (tenth assist) was also awarded an assist on the play. This brought the score to 2-1 for Williams.
At 10:54 of the third period, Colby was able to respond to equalize the game at 2-2. On a tight play with all three Mule offensive players near the crease, the puck pinballed off of a skater, and gave Geoff Sullivan (fourth goal) the opportunity to raise the puck over Pinios's shoulder and find the back of the net. Sullivan was assisted on the play by juniors Phil Klitirinos (seventh assist) and Michael Rudolf (third assist).
Williams came right back to recapture the lead at 14:21, at the tail end of a power play opportunity after junior Mario Benicky was called to the box for cross checking. Senior Frankie Mork (tenth assist) was at the top of the zone and skated with the puck, sliding from center to the left side, to give David Italiano (tenth goal) an opening in the right pocket. Mork passed it to Italiano and Italiano fired a one-timer past Tucci to bring the game to 3-2. This was Italiano's third point of the game.
"Territorially, we did some good things on the forecheck, and our back pressure was good," noted Kangas. "On our power play we needed to make a goal or two and we did, so it was a good hockey game. They definitely are a good team, they beat us earlier in the year, but I thought we played a lot better today than we did in that initial game."
The Mules were able to tie the game at 18:28 of the third period. On a play where the Ephs defense had collapsed close in by the crease, Colby's Geoff Sullivan (fifth goal) was able to fire off two consecutive shots from the right circle, the second of which was able to find an opening over Pinios's stick side, bringing the game to 3-3 on an unassisted play. This was Sullivan's second goal of the game.
With the score at 3-3 after 60 minutes of play, the two teams went into overtime play. Shot count after three periods was 36-14 for Williams.
Colby called a timeout with 2:15 remaining in the overtime period. The Ephs had two strong opportunities near the end of the extra time, however the Mules were able to put up a formidable defensive front to maintain the tie. The game ended with a score of 3-3, and shot count totals were 39-16 in favor of Williams.
"It's always tough when you're ahead late in the game to get scored on, but at the same time, and I told the guys this, I thought we played a really good hockey game," commented Kangas. "And sometimes that happens, and it just gives you really good motivation going into the next week of practice and our next games, to just put everything out there. You know, it is a hard game, you can't take anything for granted, but we learned a lot from the weekend and especially today."
The Ephs next face Tufts on the road on January 27 at 7:00 PM. The Mules next face the University of New England on the road January 28 at 7:00 PM.