WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams Ephs (2-0-0, 2-0-0 NESCAC) defeated the Colby Mules (1-1-0, 1-1-0 NESCAC) 3-2 this afternoon in the Lansing Chapman Rink. Senior C.J. Shugart, with a strong deflection on the man advantage, scored the game winning goal for the Ephs. Williams had back to back wins at home on this season opening weekend.
Williams faced off against Bowdoin last night at the Lansing Chapman Rink, and took home their first win of the year with a 4-3 outcome. The Mules started off their season last night on the road against Middlebury, coming away with a decisive 9-1 victory.
Last year, in the two games these teams faced each other, there was one tie, and one loss for the Ephs.
"Today was an all around group effort," noted coach Monti. "We knew it was going to be a little bit more of a physical game, just knowing the way that Colby plays, that they were going to come in and were going to try and outplay us on the physical side of things. So for us, I think we executed the game plan really well. I think we put together a solid 60 minutes and we were able to ultimately hold on for the victory there late in the game."
In net for Williams tonight was junior Michael Pinios, making his first start of the season. In the opposing crease was junior Sean Lawrence.
On goaltending decisions for the season, Monti commented on the approach he envisions for the starting position going forward: "It is really up in the air, it is a day to day thing. We've told the guys that from the get-go. We don't look too far ahead."
"The only thing we're thinking about right now is Babson and who is best ready to be in net that night," stated Monti. "That goes beyond our tandem, but really to our trio, with Jake Pelton, too. We told them at the beginning of the season that no matter who is in the net that night, it is all three of them pushing each other in practice to make sure that whoever is in that net that night is ready to go, that they are all supporting each other."
The Ephs got on the board first in the game, after successfully killing two back to back Colby power play opportunities. At 11:54, sophomore Max Fuld fired a quick shot off from the top of the zone, after an extended period of Eph possession in the offensive zone. This was Fuld's first goal of the season, and he was unassisted on the play, bringing the score to 1-0 after the first 20 minutes.
Shot count after the first period was 13-5 for the Ephs.
Under a minute into the second period, Colby's goaltender Sean Lawrence got caught behind the net trying to play a loose puck, which allowed a quick conversion for the Ephs, who quickly got possession and were able to get the puck past the goal line before Lawrence recovered. Junior Roberto Cellini scored this goal at :38, making this his second goal in as many games. Cellini was assisted on the play by senior David Italiano.
After back to back penalties were called on both sides (Colby senior Griffin Fadden at 6:47 for elbowing, Williams senior C.J. Shugart at 7:05 for hooking), 4-4 play ensued.
At 8:20 of the second period, Mule sophomore Kienan Scott found himself with a breakaway opportunity after Eph defensemen got caught behind during the 4-4 play. Scott was able to convert on this breakaway opportunity, cutting his team's deficit in half. Scott was assisted on the play by freshman Justin Grillo, the score now 2-1.
Colby tied the game at 10:55 of the second, after Williams lost possession of the puck in their defensive zone. This turnover led to Mule junior Nick O'Connor feeding a pass right to the stick of senior Cam McDonald, who was positioned in the pocket, and quickly shot one past Pinios. O'Connor and senior Dan Dupont earned assists on the play, bringing the score to an even 2-2.
At 16:30 of the second period, the Ephs were given five minutes on the power play after Mule senior Mario Benicky was served a five-minute major for holding the face mask.
The Ephs capitalized on this power play opportunity at 18:17, after senior captain Colby Cretella fired off a wrist shot from the left circle. Classmate C.J. Shugart got the deflection on the shot, propelling the puck over Lawrence's glove side. The Ephs recaptured the lead with this goal, the score now 3-2 headed into the final period of play. Williams entered the third period with still nearly a minute and a half of the man advantage. After two periods of play, the shot count was 28-13 for Williams.
Coach Monti praised today's special teams units: "I've got to credit our power play; I thought they did an excellent job today, and credit Coach Borges, too, for doing an excellent job with our power play. He's been working with them quite a bit, and that was a huge goal, that was the game winner for us."
The third period was scoreless on both sides, the game ending with a score of 3-2 for Williams. Shot count was 37-18 for the Ephs after 60 minutes of play. This marks a two game, two win opening weekend for Williams.
"We're only two games in and only three weeks in, so we knew we would have some work to do," reflected Monti. "But I think really just tightening up the screws and being ready for a team in Babson, next weekend, that has already played for 8 or 9 games this season, will be our focus this week."
The Ephs next face Babson next Saturday, November 25th, at home ice at 3:00 PM EST. Colby next faces U-Mass Boston in the Bowdoin/Colby Face-Off Classic, on home ice, on November 25th at 4:00PM.