Eph Men’s Ice Hockey Climbs Into Top 10 in National Polls After Vaulting Into 1st Place in NESCAC

Roberto Cellini '19 - Jeffrey Melnick d3photography.com
Roberto Cellini '19 - Jeffrey Melnick d3photography.com

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College men's ice hockey team (15-4-1/ 11-2-1 NESCAC) played two road games in Connecticut last weekend and emerged victorious in both contests to vault into first place in NESCAC by one point over defending NCAA champion Trinity.

There are four games left in the regular season and all four of the games are NESCAC contests.

With come from behind wins over Trinity 5-4 and Wesleyan 4-3 the Ephs moved up from 11th in the d3hockey.com poll to seventh and in the USCHO.com poll Williams combed from 9th to 6th.

Last Friday night Williams played at Trinity and the Bantams opened up a 2-0 lead in the first period before the Ephs were able to get on the scoreboard at 11:19 of the second period when George Hunkele scored a power play goal off a feed by James McNamara.

Trinity took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. The third period featured five goals with the Ephs tallying three to the Bantams' two, leaving the score tied at four at the end of the regulation.

David Italiano tied the game at two when he scored at 7:30, 14 seconds before Trinity re-took the lead. The 3-2 Trinity lead lasted 28 seconds when Roberto Cellini tied the contest at three all.

At 15:51 the Ephs' George Hunkele scored his second goal of the contest and it looked like it might be the game-winner until the Bantams' Anthony Sabitsky scored with 56 seconds remaining, forcing overtime.

The game-winner came off the stick of Zander Masucci who was set up by Tyler Young just 37 seconds into the overtime session.

The win marked the second time this season that Williams has downed Trinity and in both games the Ephs came from two goals down.

Saturday afternoon at Wesleyan the Ephs also fell behind by two goals, but roared back to win 4-3. Williams finally scored an unassisted goal at 7:19 in the second period when Roberto Cellini netted his first of two goals on the day. The Cellini tally led to two more second period goals; one by Greg Johnson and a short-handed goal by Tyler Young.

At 7:17 of the third period Roberto Cellini scored the fourth straight Eph goal and his second of the game at 7:17. A late Wesleyan goal made the final 4-3 in favor of the Ephs.

The Ephs have four players who have tallied 10 or more points in NESCAC play this winter. Sophomore forward David Italiano leads the Ephs in points with 13 on four goals and nine assists. Junior forward Tyler Young has 11 points on five goals and six assists, senior defenseman Zander Masucci has five goals and five assists for 10 points, while first year forward Roberto Cellini's 10 points have come on four goals and six assists.

Three of the last four games on the regular season Eph schedule will be played at home in Lansing Chapman Rink. Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. the Ephs will host Middlebury before traveling to Middlebury on Friday for a 7:00 p.m. game.

On the final weekend of the regular season the Ephs will host archrival Amherst at 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 20 and Hamilton on Feb 21 at 3:00 p.m.