Williamstown, MA–The Williams men's hockey team (11-5-3, 8-2-3 NESCAC) defeated the Trinity Bantams (10-6-3, 6-5-2 NESCAC) 3-1. The Ephs scored two goals within thirty seconds to tie and then take the lead early in the third period.
This was the second matchup between the top two teams in the NESCAC this year. The Ephs fell to Trinity on the road early in January 3-0 when the Bantams capitalized on two power play opportunities.
The first period was played evenly with both teams showcasing their speed and defensive strength. Much of the first period play happened in the neutral zone with neither team able to sustain pressure in the offensive zone. The Ephs, however, did manage more shots than the Bantams, leading in shots on goal 11-5.
Williams netminder sophomore Michael Pinios, 91.4% save record and Bantam junior goaltender Alex Morin, 93% save record, played the first period equally, leaving their respective teams tied at 0-0 going into the second period.
The Bantams was the first on the board after a power play goal by junior Tyler Whitney. Both teams created better scoring chances in the second period with clean plays and constant offensive pressure from both sides.
Eph first year Max Fuld was called for roughing at 4:53, which gave the Bantams just the opportunity they needed to move one up on the Ephs. The Bantams have the lowest power play success rate in the conference with a conversion rate of 16.7% and the Ephs have the lowest penalty kill percentage in the conference at 74.6%. Trinity proved to be the lesser of the two evils when the Bantams were able to put a goal together. Whitney was assisted by freshman Liam Feeney and senior Sean Orlando at 5:51. Williams goaltender Michael Pinios made the initial save from a Feeney shot but the puck just slid under Pinios' pads, leaving Whitney an empty net.
A late period Bantam penalty gave the Ephs an opportunity for their own power play goal. Trinity freshman Andy Chugg was called for tripping at 18:29. With the one-man advantage, the Ephs were able to set up prime goal-scoring opportunities but were unable to get on the board after a shot just grazed the post and a quick save from Bantam netminder Alex Morin.
The Trinity penalty carried over to the first 30 seconds of the third period, but the Bantams were able to kill the Chugg infractionto keep the score 1-0, Trinity.
The Ephs kept pressuring until they finally posted a goal of their own at 6:57. Junior C.J. Shugart wristed one in after a breakaway from the blue line. He was assisted by seniors Frankie Mork and George Hunkele.
"We knew going in that this was going to be a full 60-minute game but we didn't let their first power play goal get to us," head coach Bill Kangas. "Hunkele made a great pass to Shugart, which really turned the game around for us."
The Ephs gained the lead shortly after with a goal at 7:38. Trinity hit the crossbar the play before but the Ephs quickly regrouped and sophomore Roberto Cellini backhanded in his thirteenth goal of the season; he leads the conference in goals scored. He was assisted by junior David Italiano and senior Tyler Young.
Williams was able to extend their lead and secure their victory when Bantam netminder Alex Morin was pulled from his posts. Senior Frankie Mork found the back of the net at 19:05 from the center line after being assisted by seniors Tyler Young and Luke Stickel.
"We enjoy the win when it happens but we have to quickly regroup because Wesleyan is a strong team," Kangas said. "We're going to focus on the things we did well tonight and work through the things we struggled with and hopefully pull out the win again tomorrow."
The Ephs will face Wesleyan tomorrow at home with puck drop at 3pm.