HARTFORD, CT -- The Williams College Ephs (14-11-1, 9-9-1 NESCAC) were defeated by the Trinity College Bantams (19-5-2, 15-3-1 NESCAC) 5-2 tonight, thereby eliminated from the NESCAC Championships. The Ephs scored the first two goals of the game, but were unable to respond to the Bantams' five subsequent goals.
"It's always tough to close the season, but I'm incredibly proud of this team for what they've accomplished," said Williams head coach Mike Monti.
These two teams split their season series, the Ephs coming away with the first victory in early January with a decisive 5-1 win. The second matchup took place in early February, and the Bantams came away with a hard fought 4-3 win.
Last week, the Ephs eliminated Connecticut College in the NESCAC Quarterfinals, while the Bantams defeated the Tufts Jumbos to get into this semifinals match.
The Bantams came into the match with an overall record of 18-5-2, and a conference record of 14-3-1. The Ephs had an overall record of 14-10-1, and a conference record of 9-8-1.
Starting in net for the Ephs in the contest was junior Michael Pinios, who came into the match with a .910 save percentage. Late in the second period, though, the Ephs made a goalie change and senior Stephen Morrissey became the netminder for the remainder of the game. Morrissey came into the game with a .922 save percentage.
In the opposing crease was senior Alex Morin, who came into the contest sporting an impressive .930 save percentage.
The Ephs took an early two goal lead in the contest.
"We had a great start," noted Monti, "and really earned 2 goals early. We had great momentum."
The first goal came just 1:45 into the first period. Freshman Tyler Scott (fourth goal) was able to slide one past Morin on a play assisted by junior Roberto Cellini (17th assist) and sophomore Will Somers (fifth assist), bringing the team an early 1-0 lead.
Following this two goal surge by the Ephs, the Bantams responded with five unanswered goals. The first came at 15:19 of the first period, when junior Ryan Pfeffer (ninth goal) lifted one past Pinios to get his team on the board. Pfeffer was unassisted on the play.
"Transition hockey is the biggest strength for Trinity, and that's what gave them momentum moving forward," praised Monti.
The Bantams got the equalizer just :29 seconds in the second period. Pfeffer (10th goal) scored his second consecutive goal, and was assisted by junior Mark Knowlton (fourth assist), bringing the game to 2-1.
Trinity captured the lead for the first time in the contest, just two minutes later, at 2:28. Sophomore Andy Chugg (fifth goal) was responsible for this lead capturing goal, and Chugg was assisted on the play by classmate Adam Anderson (fourth assist). This brought the score to 3-2.
At 15:35 of the second period, the Bantams secured a two goal lead. This goal came from freshman James Callahan (third goal), and senior Anthony Sabitsky (13th assisted) was awarded the assist on the play. The score was 4-2 headed into the final period of play.
It was after this goal that the Ephs made a goaltending change, Morrissey taking over in between the pipes for the game's remaining time.
Around halfway through the final period of play, the Bantams scored their fifth and final goal of the game. Senior Tyler Whitney (seventh goal) was able to fire one past Morrissey, and Whitney was assisted on the play by sophomore Liam Feeney (17th assist). This brought the score to 5-2.
Shot count after 60 minutes was 40-16 for Trinity. The game ended with the score at 5-2, the Bantams effectively eliminating the Ephs from the conference championships.
"What a great group of seniors we had on this team," Monti commented on the five graduating seniors for whom this game was their last. "They were leaders, each in their own way. Contributing on and off the ice, this team couldn't have had success without them. I'm incredibly proud of them for who they are, what they stand for, and the legacy they leave behind."
"On a personal level, there is no group of guys better than this to have my first head coaching experience with," reflected Monti.
"Their talent, commitment, perseverance, and passion are exemplary. It inspired me to be better everyday. I'll cherish these memories forever. A special thanks to Bill Kangas, and Lisa Melendy for affording me this opportunity."