LEWISTON, ME -- The Ephs seized their fifth consecutive win today, thanks to a four-goal run late in the game against the Bates College Bobcats.
Williams (5-1/ 3-1 NESCAC) hoped to gain their third league victory against Bates (2-4/ 0-4 NESCAC), who came into the contest 0-3 in the league. Like any NESCAC game, it was sure to be fierce. Though Williams clinched the win, it was anyone's game right until the end.
The NESCAC rivals battled it out for the first several minutes, but it was Bobcat Kyle Weber who netted the first goal with 8:08 remaining. As they often do, Williams responded to their opponent's goal by firing back. Four different Ephs joined forces to score two goals before the first quarter expired.
Though Bates dominated the beginning of the second quarter, Whittam remained strong. After several scoring attempts Bates turned over the ball, and Steven Keisel took advantage, netting his second goal of the game with 12:12 remaining.
Though they tried to increase their two-goal lead, Williams surrendered possession. A Bobcat goal from Jack Allard set off a series of points from each squad. Within four minutes, the Bobcats and the Ephs scored two goals apiece.
With the score at 5-4, Williams attempted to pull further ahead. They were even granted a man-up opportunity with a Bates penalty call. However, the Bates defense held up.
Before halftime, another set of goals was scored, one per squad. At 6-5 Williams, it was still anyone's game.
Competitive play persisted into the third quarter, but the prolific scoring came to a halt. Several shot attempts by the Ephs were either saved by Kazarian or slightly missed the cage. Bates suffered a second man-down penalty, but play remained even.
As always, the Ephs gained strength and confidence throughout the game. It became clear in the fourth quarter that they were determined to finish the job. The Ephs increased their lead with two early goals in the fourth quarter, despite a strong Bates defensive presence. Tanner MacIvor contributed to each.
With 10:18 remaining, the score was 9-5. Like all NESCAC contests, however, it remained competitive until the end.
Bates went on the offensive, taking several shots. Eventually, Kohl Greibel and Kyle Weber were able to wear down the Ephs, scoring two goals. But with 3:21 remaining, the Williams defense came alive to ensure the victory.
This win was the fifth consecutive win overall, and third consecutive conference win. Whittam made 10 saves to Kazarian's 4, and Lee won 13 of 20 faceoffs against a strong opponent. Unusually, Williams was outshot 37 to 26.
There were seven scorers for the Ephs, while five different players contributed with assists. That, like their consistently strong defense, is a testament to the team's depth.
Coach McCormack noted this strength: "I was happy to see a lot of guys do well coming off the bench."
He also noted that the victory was a full team effort, earned by everyone.
"It was a little sloppy in the beginning, but they played really well in the third and fourth quarters. Our man-down unit played very well, especially at the end of the game when we were trying to run the clock down."
The team heads down to Baltimore to face Union College on Wednesday, March 26.