AMHERST, MA -- The Williams Ephs (5-1-1, 4-0-1 NESCAC) tied Amherst (3-1-3, 2-0-2 NESCAC) 2-2 tonight at the Orr Hockey Rink. Williams' freshman Roberto Cellini had two points on the game, assisting sophomores C.J. Shugart and Colby Cretella. Amherst had goal scorers in Jack Fitzgerald and Thomas Lindstrom, Fitzgerald tying the game at 2 halfway through the third period.
These two teams met last in the NESCAC Championship game last season, with Amherst coming away victorious, with a 1-0 score.
There was a great goaltending matchup tonight, in net for the Ephs tonight was senior Noah Klag. This was Klag's fourth start of the season, and Klag came into this match with a .967 save percentage. In net for Amherst was senior Dave Cunningham, who made his sixth start of the season in tonight's game, and came into the contest with a .954 save percentage. Klag made 23 saves on the game, while Cunningham made 29.
"Tonight was a game of two good teams playing each other. With the ebb and flow of the game, with two teams like this, both are going to get good chances," commented Williams head coach Bill Kangas. "I think we had very good stretches of play in the second period, we had great chances, I thought we were really connected."
Amherst got on the board first in this game. Amherst's sophomore Thomas Lindstrom got one past Klag at 11:56 of the first period, to give his team a 1-0 lead early on in the game, off of an odd angle shot. Lindstrom was assisted by teammates Patrick Mooney and Topher Flanagan. This was Lindstrom's third goal of the season.
Williams' sophomore Colby Cretella tied the game for his team on the power play just minutes later, after Amherst's David White went to the box for tripping at 14:37. At 16:16 of the first, Cretella had a great shot from the high slot, firing one over Cunningham's glove, bringing the game to 1-1. Cretella was assisted on the play freshman Roberto Cellini. This marked Cretella's second goal of the season. Coming into this match, the Ephs had been successful on the power play 16.7% of the time this season.
After the first period, shot count was fairly even, but in Williams' favor, 8-7.
In the second period, the Ephs were able to gain a 2-1 lead over Amherst after Ephs' Cellini made an impressive play, out skating his defender Phil Johansson, and made a backdoor pass to teammate C.J. Shugart, who was able to shoot the puck in on a practically empty net. Shugart's goal, his fourth on the year, came at 14:34 of the second period. This goal marked Cellini's second assist on the game.
Amherst responded near the halfway point of the third period, to bring the game to a 2-2 tie. At 8:11, Amherst's Kevin Ryder fired a slapshot from the left side of the zone, and teammate Jack Fitzgerald was able to get a piece of it, redirecting the puck past Noah Klag in net. This goal shifted momentum in the favor of Amherst, and moments later, Amherst was given an opportunity on the power play to gain the lead. The Ephs were able to kill the penalty, however.
The two teams remained tied through regulation. There were five minutes of overtime play, however the score remained 2-2 through 65 minutes of play. The Ephs outshot Amherst 31-25.
"Amherst had some momentum after they scored in the third, but overall I thought we competed well, played hard, and this is the type of game you are going to get with these two teams," noted Kangas. "Tonight ended up being a draw, but that's going to happen. We're still early enough in the year that we can make those changes that we want to make. We have some time to review this game, and really focus on our match against Hamilton tomorrow."
Both teams remain undefeated in the conference, this tie propelling the Ephs' NESCAC record to 4-0-1, while Amherst's conference record moves to 2-0-2.
Amherst plays Middlebury at home tomorrow at 3:00 PM, while Williams travels to Hamilton for a 3:00 PM puck drop tomorrow afternoon.