WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams Ephs (10-3-1, 6-1-1 NESCAC) upset No. 3 Plattsburgh State (12-3-1, 5-1-1 SUNYAC) 3-2 at the Lansing Chapman Rink this afternoon, furthering their win streak to five games. Sophomore David Italiano scored both the first and last goals of the game, after Plattsburgh tied the match late in the third to extend play into overtime.
In net for the Cardinals was senior netminder Spencer Finney. This match marked Finney's 11th start of the season, and he came into today's contest with a .910 save percentage. In the crease on the opposite end was freshman standout goaltender Michael Pinios, who has now earned himself his eighth start of the season. Pinios boasted a .958 save percentage coming into today's game.
Plattsburgh State came into this matchup ranked third nationally, while Williams was ranked eleventh in the latest USCHO.com national poll. This victory for the Ephs marks their second straight two-win weekend, and their fourth two-win weekend of the season.
The Ephs got off to an early start, setting the tone for the contest. At just 1:35 of the first period, David Italiano was able to get one past Finney on an unassisted effort. This marked Italiano's fifth goal, and 12th point of the season, putting Williams up 1-0. Italiano's tally was the first shot the Ephs had in the game.
Plattsburgh State cashed in for the equalizer near the end of the first 20 minutes of play. At 17:08 of the first, Cole Stallard fired in his ninth goal and 11th point of his freshman season, tying the game at 1 going into the locker rooms. Stallard was assisted by senior Connor Gorman (fourth assist) and sophomore Chris Taff (tenth assist).
"I thought Plattsburgh had a major push in the first period and we were on our heals," observed Williams head coach Bill Kangas. "We weren't playing our best, we have to give them credit. Then in the second period I think we responded well, we played smarter as the game went on. We had back pressure at times, we really were connected."
The Ephs had the sole goal of the second period, right at the halfway mark of the match. At 9:29 of the second, junior George Hunkele scored his fourth goal of the season, sliding one past Finney to recapture the lead. Hunkele was assisted on the play by senior Zander Masucci (fifth assist) and junior Alex Hagerty (second assist).
The Cardinals were relentless with their offensive zone pressure in the remaining minutes of regulation, and their persistence paid off with just 1:26 remaining. At 18:34 of the third, senior Kevin Emmerling fired in his tenth goal of the season, sniping one past Pinios. Emmerling was unassisted on the play, tying the game for his team, and thus allowing the game to extend to overtime.
With just :04 seconds remaining in regulation, freshman Roberto Cellini was cross-checked by Plattsburgh State's Aryton Valente. This gave the Ephs the opportunity to go into extra minutes with the man advantage for almost the entirety of the power play.
"In the third, they came back and pushed forward; they had a nice goal to tie it late," commented Kangas. "But that next shift, we generated some chances, we responded well to their goal and then drew a penalty of our own to give us something to work with in overtime. That response was critical."
The shot count for the third period was 14-5 in favor of the Cardinals.
The Ephs recaptured the lead and cemetned their victory on this power play opportunity. At just :50 seconds into overtime, David Italiano scored his second of the game, stuffing a loose puck in the crease past Finney after Zander Masucci fired one towards the net from the point. Italiano was assisted by Masucci (sixth assist) and sophomore C.J. Shugart (second assist). This proved to be the game winner with the Ephs persisting to capture a 3-2 victory over the third ranked team in the nation.
"We needed a big goal and we ended up getting one, which came because of our strong presence in front of the net," stated Kangas. "Overall, there was a good ebb and flow to tonight's match. In terms of goaltending, Noah played well yesterday, and Pinios had a strong performance tonight. We were opportunistic on our chances this weekend and I think that was a major source for our success."
The shot count for the contest rounded out heavily in Plattsburgh State's favor, 45-10.
The Ephs next travel to Bowdoin on January 22nd for a 7:00 p.m. contest. Plattsburgh State next faces Morrisville on January 22nd at 7:00 PM.