CLINTON, NY -- The Williams Ephs (14-9-3, 10-5-3 NESCAC) were eliminated from the NESCAC Championships after being defeated 4-2 by the Trinity Bantams (17-6-3, 11-5-2 NESCAC) this afternoon at the Russell Sage Rink in the NESCAC semifinal match. While the Ephs scored the first two goals of the game, they were unable to quash the Bantam offense, who scored four unanswered goals on their path to victory.
Trinity defeated the number six ranked Tufts last weekend 4-1 at home. Williams faced fifth ranked Amherst last weekend in Williamstown, and came away with a 2-1 victory to send the Ephs into the semifinals this afternoon.
Trinity won the NESCAC Championship last year, the Ephs entered this game in attempts to eliminate the defending conference champions.
Trinity came into this game with an overall record of 16-6-3, 11-5-2 in the NESCAC, while Williams came into this game with an overall record of 14-8-3, 10-5-3 in the conference.
Sophomore Michael Pinios was the netminder for the Ephs this afternoon. Pinios came into this contest with a .888 save percentage and a season record of 9-7-3. Pinios made 33 saves on the game. In the opposite crease was junior Alex Morin, who came into this match with a .929 save percentage, and a record of 14-6-3. Morin made 26 saves on the game to lead his team to victory.
At 8:06 of the first period, the Ephs gained the early 1-0 lead. The puck became loose in the zone, and senior Taylor Carmola fired off a one timer from the right point, which was ultimately deflected by classmate Alex Hagerty (eighth goal) to get one past Morin. Carmola (second assist) was awarded an assist on the play. Freshman Wyatt Glover (third assist) also earned an assist on the play.
Williams gave themselves a two goal cushion at 12:40 of the first period. The Bantams lost possession of the puck in their defensive zone, feeding the puck to Eph junior C.J. Shugart. Shugart (seventh assist), from the right pocket, made a cross pass to senior Luke Stickel (fourth goal) who was right in front of the left side of the net, and Stickel was able to fire one past Morin's stick side. This brought the game to 2-0 for Williams.
The Bantams were able to quickly respond to cut the Williams lead in half. At 14:05, as a result of good forechecking pressure by the Bantams, junior Anthony Sabitsky (13th assist) was able to get the puck loose from the boards and circle the puck behind the net, and make a cross pass to sophomore Michael O'Brien (second goal) who was able to tap the puck in from close range. Senior Brandon Cole (11th assist) also earned an assist on the play. This brought the game score to 2-1.
Trinity tied the game near the conclusion of the first period while on the man advantage. At 17:49, Taylor Carmola was called to the box for tripping, giving the Bantams a power play opportunity. Coming into this match, the Bantams were able to convert on the power play 19.5% of the time.
At 19:36 of the first period, Bantam freshman Barclay Gammill (ninth goal) was able to elevate a backhander over Pinios's glove side, after a pass from senior Brandon Cole (12th assist). Senior Ethan Holdaway (12th assist) also earned an assist on the play. This brought the game to 2-2 headed into the locker rooms after the first 20 minutes of play.
After the first period of play, shots were in favor of Trinity 9-8.
There were no goals scored in the second period, but shots in the second period were 12-9 for Trinity.
At 18:19 of the third period, the Bantams were able to get one past the Eph defensive unit. Senior Ethan Holdaway was able to steal the puck and get it to senior Samuel Johnson, whose shot hit the boards behind the net and had a funny bounce, the puck getting to the stick of senior Sean Orlando (15th goal) who was positioned in front of the net. Orlando was able to get one off quickly, to take the lead for the first time in the game, bringing the score to 3-2 with just under two minutes of play remaining.
The Bantams solidified their victory at 19:40 of the third period, when Ethan Holdaway, on an unassisted play, was able to score an empty netter. This brought the game to its final score of 4-2 for Trinity.
Shots in the third period were 16-11 for Trinity, bringing game totals to 37-28.
Later this afternoon, Wesleyan will face off against Hamilton in the second semifinal game of the afternoon to determine who will face Trinity in tomorrow's conference championship game, taking place at 2:00 PM.