WILLIAMSTOWN, MA-- After getting off to a strong start in the first with a 3-0 lead, the Ephs were able to keep the score in their favor for the remainder of the game to ultimately defeat the Bowdoin Polar Bears 5-2 this afternoon in the Lansing Chapman Rink. Williams scored four goals in the first period to take a commanding lead, and senior goaltender Sean Dougherty made twenty-seven saves in the contest to take this victory.
The last team these two teams met back in November, the game finished with a 3-3 tie after overtime play. Coming into this game, the Ephs were 10-3-2 overall with a 6-2-1 NESCAC record. The Polar Bears came into this match with a 9-4-3 overall record with a 4-4-3 NESCAC record.
The goaltender match up in this match was a strong one, with senior goaltender Sean Dougherty in net for the Ephs, coming into the contest with a .919 save percentage on the season overall, and veteran netminder Max Fenkell for the Polar Bears, coming into the match with a .930 save percentage on the season.
"I think we did a really good job over the puck and keeping control tonight. We played two really tough teams this weekend, and overall we played well both nights," commented head coach Bill Kangas.
The Ephs got the first power play opportunity of the game at 8:53 after sophomore George Hunkele drew a slashing call, sending Matt Sullivan to the box for Bowdoin. Coming into this power play, the Ephs were thirty two percent on the powerplay this season.
At 9:23, junior Greg Johnson scored his fifth of the year, firing one past Fenkell on this powerplay after strong puck movement by the Ephs in the offensive zone. Johnson was assisted on the play by sophomore classmates Tyler Young and Sam Gray.
Just forty seconds later, the Ephs scored again to take a 2-0 lead halfway through the first period. Freshman C.J. Shugart tipped one in from a shot at the point by junior Zander Masucci. Shugart's tall presence effectively screened Fenkell on the play, and he tipped one through at 10:03. Masucci and senior David Jarrett were awarded assists on the play. This is the second time in as many games that the Ephs have scored two goals within a minute.
At 13:15, Williams took a commanding 3-0 lead after freshman David Italiano got one through off of a cross pass from senior Craig Kitto on a 2-1 break out. Kitto brought the puck into the zone and had Italiano on his right, who one-timed it past Bowdoin's Fenkell. This was Italiano's seventh goal of the season, and Kitto's tenth assist. Freshman Colby Cretella also earned an assist on the play.
Bowdoin got on the board at 14:35 on the power play, bringing the game to 3-1 and rounding out scoring for the period. Ephs' senior Alex DeBaere went to the box for interference, giving Bowdoin their first chance on the power play in the game. Coming into this power play, the Polar Bears were thirty three percent on the man advantage this season. Connor Quinn fired one past goaltender Sean Dougherty off of a pass from Mitch Barrington, after Bowdoin was able to keep the puck in the zone the majority of the powerplay.
After the first, the Ephs lead 3-1, with the Ephs just edging out the Polar Bears in shots, 13-12. "We converted on our chances, we moved the puck quickly to the open guy," said Kangas on the team's success tonight.
It was an uneventful second period, with no goals scored on either side. Williams had two power play opportunities, and Bowdoin had one, but neither side was able to capitalize.
The third period began with a quick goal for the Ephs, when sophomore Frankie Mork scored his second goal of the season off of a wrist shot on the left side. Mork was assisted by Alex DeBaere on the play, the goal coming at 1:57 into the third period. This brought the game to 4-1 for the Ephs, with the majority of the third period left to play.
Bowdoin took their fifth penalty of the night at 8:52, giving the Ephs a chance to bury a fifth midway through the third period. Bowdoin was called for seven penalties in yesterday's contest against Middlebury. Sophomore Alex Gonye scored his second goal of the year at 10:22 on an odd man break, after the Ephs were able to evade an aggressive forecheck by the Polar Bears on the penalty kill. Gonye, David Jarrett, and David Italiano had a 3-2 rush, and Italiano made a quick pass to Gonye who buried one past Fenkell. Jarrett and Italiano earned assists on the play. This power play goal made Williams two for five on the night with the man advantage, and brought the score to 5-1.
At 16:36, C.J. Shugart went to the box for Williams on account of elbowing, giving Bowdoin their fifth power play opportunity of the game. The Polar Bears were able to convert on the man-advantage, after a lot of traffic in front of Sean Dougherty in the crease resulted in a goal, coming from Spencer Antunez at 17:39, making the game 5-2.
The game finished with a final score of 5-2. Bowdoin outshot Williams 29-27, but were unable to pull out a win. This victory for the Ephs brings their overall record to 11-3-2, with a conference record of 7-2-1. The Polar Bears' overall record moves to 9-5-3, with a conference record of 4-5-3.
"We shot the puck when it was available to us and we supported the puck across the whole rink, and that translated well for us today."
Williams next meets Connecticut College the 30th at 7:00 PM, and Bowdoin next plays Southern Maine the 27th at 7:00 PM.