WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams College Ephs (9-4-0, 6-2-0 NESCAC) defeated the Manhattanville College Valiants (8-5-3, 4-3-0 UCHC) 3-1 tonight in the Lansing Chapman Rink. Junior goaltender Michael Pinios made 28 saves on the night.
The Valiants came into the match riding a two game win streak, not having lost a game since December 2nd. The Ephs had a three game win streak coming into this matchup.
In net for the Ephs tonight was Michael Pinios. Pinios came into this match with a save percentage of .915. In the opposite crease for the Valiants was junior Tyler Feaver who came into the match with a .936 save percentage.
At 7:00 in the first period, the Ephs took the early lead off of a nice passing play coming in through the neutral zone. Senior David Italiano was fed a pass headed into the zone, and skating across into the right circle, he delivered a cross pass to junior Roberto Cellini. Cellini (fifth goal) was able to get off a quick wrist shot to beat Feaver over his shoulder, bringing the score to 1-0. Italiano (seventh assist) and freshman Daniel Wolfenden (second assist) were awarded assists on the play.
Williams had the first man advantage of the game at 14:19 of the first period, after Manhattanville's freshman Braedon Cross was called to the box for roughing. The Ephs came into this power play with a 24.5% conversion rate.
The first period ended with a second power play opportunity for Williams after freshman Andrew Frojelin was sent to the box for roughing. The Ephs were able to convert with the extra man at 19:30, bringing the score to 2-0 headed into the locker rooms.
On tonight's strategy for success, Williams head coach Mike Monti pinpointed the focus: "it's sticking to our identity. Before the game tonight, we talked about having to play a 200 foot game. We would have to be good in all three zones, and have to compete in all situations."
Junior Marcus Mollica was able to get the Manhattanville defense and Feaver to commit to him as he held possession of the puck in the right pocket, and at the last second made a cross pass to freshman Tyler Scott, who was able to elevate one over Feaver to cash in his second goal of the season. Scott (second goal) was assisted by Mollica (fifth assist) and Wolfenden (third assist) on the play.
At 19:56, Eph junior Keanu Hilaire was called to the box for interference, giving the Valiants the extra man opportunity at the opening of the second period.
After the first 20 minutes of play shots were an even 9-9.
At 10:57, the Ephs got their second power play goal of the game. Senior C.J. Shugart won the faceoff in the left circle, fed it back to the left point, and a timely cross pass to Italiano, stationed at the right circle, solidified the Williams three goal lead. Italiano (sixth goal), who beat Feaver by going high glove side, was assisted on the play by Cellini (ninth assist) and sophomore Peter Christie (sixth assist), bringing the game to 3-0 headed into the third period.
At 18:50, freshman Nick VanBelle was called to the box for interference, giving the Valiants the man advantage headed into the third period.
At 10:42 in the third period, coinciding penalties were called against Manhattanville's junior Bryan Platt and Williams freshman Mike Armstrong for roughing, with 4-4 play ensuing.
At 11:43, another penalty was called against Williams, this one on junior Connor Meike for holding, giving the Valiants a 4-3 opportunity for a minute, and a man advantage for two minutes.
The Valiants called a timeout, and subsequently pulled their goalie, giving Manhattanville a 5-3 instead of a 4-3 opportunity. At 12:41, just as the Valiants sent Feaver back to the net, Manhattanville was able to score a power play goal on a wrist shot executed by freshman Taylor Bommarito, who, from the left circle, sent one flying over the glove side of Pinios to bring the game to 3-1, with around seven minutes remaining. Bommarito (seventh goal) was assisted on the play by senior Stephen Gaul (third assist).
At 16:40, Williams had another man advantage opportunity after Valiant junior Axel Walltott was called to the box for interference. This prevented the Valiants from putting a lot of offensive pressure on Williams until around a minute remaining.
"With the ebbs and flows of the game, Manhattanville got a 5-3 power play whcih gave them momentum, and ultimately a surge at the end of the period," noted Monti. "At that point we were just trying to focus on keeping pucks north and defending hard."
The game ended with a score of 3-1, the Ephs winning their fourth consecutive game. Shot count ended up at a evenly matched 30-29, the Ephs just edging out the Valiants in this regard.
The Ephs next face Plattsburgh at home tomorrow night at 7:00 PM EST. Manhattanville next plays Nichols tomorrow afternoon on the road, puck drop occurring at 4:40 PM EST.
"Plattsburgh is always a highly skilled, competitive team," stated Monti. "Much like tonight, it will take maximum effort in all facets of our game."