WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams Ephs (9-3-1, 6-1-1 NESCAC) defeated the Wesleyan Cardinals (0-7-5, 0-2-4 NESCAC) 3-1 this afternoon at the Lansing Chapman Rink. Wesleyan took the lead initially, but Williams scored three consecutive goals to secure their victory.
Williams defeated Trinity 3-2 at home yesterday after making up a two goal deficit, while Wesleyan tied Middlebury 3-3. The Ephs came into this match ranked first in the NESCAC, one point ahead of Middlebury.
In net for the Ephs this afternoon was freshman Michael Pinios, racking up his seventh start in his first year as an Eph. Pinios came into this contest with a .958 save percentage. In net for the Cardinals was Dawson Sprigings, who came into his tenth start of the season with a .886 save percentage. Pinios made 25 saves in the match, while Sprigings made 22.
Wesleyan got on the board early in the first period, after the Ephs failed to clear the puck from their zone. At 4:59, junior James Kline of the Cardinals slid one past Pinios after receiving the puck from the left point, accruing his sixth goal on the season. Kline was assisted on the play by teammates Cam McCusker and Jay Matthews.
This score rounded out action for the first period, the Cardinals going into the second with a 1-0 lead. Shot count after the first was 13-10 in Wesleyan's favor.
"We got off to a slow start today, we were on our heels," noted Williams head coach Bill Kangas. "In the second and third periods we were stronger along the boards, we were just playing at a higher, more competitive level, so it was a nice way to come back. In some ways, it helps to come back to see that you can do it, that you can pull through in situations like these."
After a power play on each side, the Ephs tied the game just over half way through the match. At 13:10, junior Alex Hagerty scored his second goal in as many games, firing the puck immediately off of the draw. Hagerty was assisted on the play by senior Matt Werner, bringing the game to 1-1.
After two periods, the game remained tied. Shot count for the second period was 10-1 for the Ephs. The Ephs gained the lead late in the third period, however.
At 17:19 of the third, the Ephs pulled away with the lead, after junior Greg Zaffino fired one from the point after an initial missed shot. This marked Zaffino's first goal of the season, and proved to be the game winning goal in the contest. Sophomore Colby Cretella and junior George Hunkele were awarded assists on the play.
"When you come from behind to win, especially in yesterday's game, you see what it takes," commented Kangas. "Alex Hagerty had his first and second career goals this weekend, Zaffino today with his first of the season -- it really takes everyone contributing to do what we did."
Cretella sealed the deal for his squad by scoring an empty netter at 19:13 of the third period, bringing the game score to 3-1. Cretella was assisted on the play by classmate Joe Welch.
Wesleyan outshot Williams in the third period 12-6 bringing game totals to a balanced 26-26.
Coach Kangas spoke to the approach the team has taken and will continue to take, given their first place ranking in the conference: "I think it is an every day mentality -- from day one, preparing at the rink, watching video, preparing during practice. It's a process. Every man has to contribute and do their part to get a little better; getting each individual to improve on a personal level ultimately translates when you bring it all together. The aim is to keep it simple, stay in the moment, and not get ahead of ourselves -- and that was especially important this weekend."
This victory brings the Williams overall record to 9-3-1, and 6-1-1 in the NESCAC, while Wesleyan's overall record now moves to 0-7-5, with a conference record of 0-2-4.
Williams next plays at Manhattanville next Friday at 7:00 PM, while Wesleyan plays Bowdoin at home on Friday at 7:00 PM.