WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams hockey (4-2-1) played strong in the first period, taking the lead early on with a goal from sophomore Sam Gray. However, Hamilton (3-2-1) played a game of attrition which worked in their favor, as they came from behind to win 5-2, with two empty netters for insurance at the conclusion of the match.
Williams came into this match with an overall record of 4-1-1, with a conference record of 3-0-1. Hamilton had an overall record of 2-2-1 and had a conference record of 1-1-1.
Williams came out ahead 1-0 after the first period of play, after sophomore Sam Gray scored on the power play. The shot totals after the first period were in Hamilton's advantage twelve to eleven. Hamilton came out with a strong physical presence.
Charlie Fennell started in net for Hamilton in this match, due to freshman Evan Buitenhuis out because of an injury. For Williams, veteran Sean Dougherty started in net, coming into this contest with a .935 save percentage in the conference thus far this season.
At 5:40, the Ephs went on the power play after Nicholas Vassos went to the box for hooking. The Ephs capitalized on this power play opportunity at 6:08, as Sam Gray fired a wrist shot just inside the left post off of a pass from classmate Luke Stickel. Gray again filling a defensive role for the Ephs shot this one from the right point on the special teams unit. Assists were awarded to sophomores Stickel and George Hunkele on the play. This power play goal brought the Ephs to ten for twenty-five on the man advantage this season.
13:41 into the period, T.J. Daigler for the Continentals took a penalty for hooking. Hamilton effectively killed this penalty, taking a few of the Ephs down on hard hits in the process.
Hamilton scored two goals in the second period to bring the game to 2-2 headed into the third. The Ephs took the lead in shots, with twenty-two after two periods of play, versus Hamilton's sixteen. Hamilton only had four shots in the second period, however they scored on two of those four.
At 4:11 into the second period, Williams' senior Craig Kitto went to the box in the offensive zone for interference, giving Hamilton their first power play opportunity of the game. The Continentals converted on this power play chance at 5:14, bringing the game to 1-1. Marco Brelih shot one from the point, with goaltender Dougherty heavily screened from the shot. Brelih was unassisted on the play.
9:03 into the second, Tyler Lovejoy for Hamilton drew a penalty being called against sophomore Alex Gonye for hitting from behind. Williams took their second penalty of the game, both coming from the offensive zone. Hamilton again capitalized on this man advantage, scoring their second goal of the game at 9:49, bringing the score to 2-1 in favor of the Continentals. Marco Brelih scored his second goal of the game and of the season off of an almost identical shot as his first goal, beating Dougherty on the low right side. Brelih was assisted this time by Kenny Matheson.
Williams got the next power play opportunity as Bradley Smelstor for Hamilton went to the box for interference at 10:18. Senior Craig Kitto scored his first of the season on this power play opportunity at 11:34, off of a one-timer after the puck was passed around the perimeter. This goal tied the game at two, with sophomore James McNamara and senior David Jarrett earning assists on the play.
At 15:06 into the second period, Craig Kitto took a huge hit from behind from Bradley Smelstor. Kitto was slow to get up on the play, and Smelstor was given a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct on the hit. The period finished out with Hamilton playing a man down. The Continentals were able to avoid a goal against them despite the extensive time spent in their defensive zone the last few minutes of play. The Ephs go into the third with :06 seconds left on the power play.
The third period began with the Continentals effectively killing the five minute major called at the end of the second period. The play was largely defined by back and forth play.
At 13:51, a very sudden goal was scored by Continental Tyler Bruneteau, who fired one right off of the puck drop, catching goaltender Dougherty off guard. This goal brought the game to 3-2 in favor of Hamilton. This was Bruneteau's first career goal as a Continental.
16:06 into the third, the Ephs were given an opportunity to respond as Bennett Hambrook for Hamilton took a penalty for holding. The Ephs were not able to set anything up, and Hamilton effectively killed the penalty taken late in the game.
Williams took a timeout with 1:36 remaining in the game. Dougherty was pulled with around 1:20 left in the game, to give the Ephs a 6-5 man advantage. With :48 seconds left, Hamilton's Robbie Murden scored an empty netter. With :25 seconds left, Tyler Bruneteau scored another empty netter for the Continentals. Hamilton won the match 5-2.
Williams has a quick turnaround, playing Amherst in Lansing Chapman Rink Saturday at 3:00 pm. Hamilton plays Middlebury Saturday at 4:00 pm.