MIDDLETOWN, CT -- The Williams Ephs (5-4-2, 4-2-2 NESCAC) defeated the Wesleyan Cardinals (7-4-0, 3-3-0 NESCAC) 4-1 on the road this afternoon at the Spurrier-Snyder Rink. Junior C.J. Shugart led the team offensively, posting two goals and three points on the afternoon. Shugart was backed by junior goaltender Stephen Morrissey, giving an impressive performance in his first start of the year, blocking 15 of 16 shots faced.
"It is obviously nice to get the road win," stated Williams head coach Bill Kangas. "This league is competitive, and coming off of a tough loss yesterday, we did a great job rebounding today. I thought we played a pretty solid 60 minute game today in all zones, we had a good pace to our game."
The Ephs came into this match with an overall record of 4-4-2, with a conference record of 3-2-2, after being shutout by Trinity last night 3-0. The Cardinals came into this match with an overall record of 7-3-0 and a conference record of 3-2-0, after defeating Middlebury 3-2 last night.
In net for Williams this afternoon was Morrissey, making his first start of the season. Before this game, he had faced 19 shots in competition, with a perfect 19 shots saved.
Kangas commented on the decision to start Morrissey: "Stephen has been practicing well, and obviously had the opportunity to play against Norwich in the tournament final for two plus periods, and he played really well there. Today he made some great key saves, and I thought the guys really fed off his energy."
In the opposing crease was sophomore George Blinick, making his third start of the season, and who also had a flawless save percentage coming into this match.
At 4:31 of the first period, freshman Wyatt Glover scored on a play assisted by seniors Frankie Mork (seventh assist) and Alex Hagerty (first assist), marking the first goal of his Eph career. This brought the game to an early 1-0 advantage for Williams.
Williams gave themselves a two goal cushion at 17:18 of the first period. On the 5-3 man advantage, after Cardinal Peter Christie was called for checking at 16:15 and subsequently teammate Rob Harbison went to the box for boarding at 16:48, Eph junior David Italiano (5th goal) got one past Blinick, with help from classmate C.J. Shugart (second assist) and senior Sam Gray (sixth assist). Coming into this game, the Ephs had an impressive 32.6% conversion rate on the power play.
The Cardinals responded shortly thereafter on the power play, after senior Alex Hagerty was called for checking at 18:00 of the first. Just 15 seconds later, Wesleyan's Tyler Wyatt snuck one past Morrissey off of a play facilitated by Mike Yablong (third assist). This marked Wyatt's first goal as a Cardinal, bringing the game to 2-1 headed into the locker rooms after the first 20 minutes of play. Coming into this contest, the Cardinals had been successful 18.4% of the time on the man advantage.
Williams reasserted a two goal lead at 7:24 of the second period, with Shugart claiming his first goal of the game, despite having several Cardinals on his back, bringing his goal count to seven for the season and solidifying his spot as the lead goal scorer for the Ephs. Shugart was assisted on the play by sophomore Keanu Hilaire (second assist) and freshman Max Fuld (first assist). This brought the game score to 3-1 just around halfway through the game, and rounded out scoring for the second period of play. The shot count after 40 minutes of play was heavily in favor of Williams, 21-5.
With just over a minute left in the match, the Cardinals pulled Blinick in attempts to pose a late comeback. At 18:53, Shugart took advantage of the Cardinal's empty net, and brought the game to its final score of 4-1, scoring his second goal of the game and eighth of the season. Shugart was assisted on the play by Fuld (second assist) and senior James McNamara (third assist).
The Cardinals outshot the Ephs 11-6 in the third period, rounding out shot count totals to 27-16 in favor of the Ephs.
"We're excited about the win and the two points today, and our response to our loss yesterday was very positive," noted Kangas. "We have three games to look forward to next week, so this game was a good way to head into those next match ups."
Williams next faces Brockport at home on January 10th, at 5:00 PM EST. Wesleyan's next match is against Bowdoin on January 13th, at 7:00 PM EST.