WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams College Ephs (10-4-0, 6-2-0 NESCAC) beat the Plattsburgh State Cardinals (8-8-0, 3-6-0 SUNYAC) 6-2 tonight in the Lansing Chapman Rink. Senior Stephen Morrissey made 34 saves on the night to lead the Ephs to their fifth straight win.
Plattsburgh faced Middlebury yesterday, came away with a 3-2 victory, and came into this match on a three game win streak. The Ephs played Manhattanville last night and won 3-1, and were riding a four game win streak headed into tonight's matchup.
In net tonight for the Ephs was Stephen Morrissey, Morrissey coming into the match with a .918 save percentage. Starting in net for the Cardinals was freshman Lawson Fenton, who came into the contest with a .912 save percentage.
The Cardinals came out of the gates with speed, capturing the only goal in the first period.
"The first period, we weren't winning battles, competing, or playing to our full identity," admitted Williams head coach Mike Monti. "We addressed that in between periods and the team responded with a great second period."
At 7:20, the Ephs got their second man advantage opportunity of the game, after Cardinal freshman Connor Logan was called to the box for hooking.
Nearly 20 seconds later, at 7:49, the Cardinals were able to convert on the man-down, after the Ephs lost possession of the puck in the offensive zone. Sophomore Philip Middleton was able to make a nice pass off of the boards to classmate Joe Drabin. Drabin, with a defender on his back, was able to slide one past Morrissey to bring the game to 1-0. Drabin (second goal) was assisted by Middleton (sixth assist) on the short-handed play.
After the first period of play shots were 13-9 for the Ephs.
At 1:16 into the second period, Cardinal sophomore Antoine Fournier-Gosselin was called to the box for roughing, giving the Ephs another power play opportunity.
Williams was able to capitalize on the man advantage. Freshman Jack McCool fed junior Roberto Cellini the puck from just outside the zone, and Cellini effectively had a breakaway opportunity, having caught Plattsburgh stuck in a line change. Cellini (sixth goal) slipped one through the five hole at 2:22 to even the score at one. McCool (fourth assist) earned the lone assist on the play.
"We caught them in a change on the first power play goal, which gave Roberto a breakaway," noted Monti. "From there we worked hard to get to their net, put shots on their goalie, and were rewarded for doing the little things."
At 6:23, the Ephs were able to gain the lead in the game. Right in front of the crease, freshman Nick Van Belle fed an impressive cross pass to sophomore Will Somers (first goal), who had open net in front of him as Fenton did not have time to slide to the opposite post. Somers was assisted on the play by VanBelle (third assist) and sophomore Wyatt Glover (second assist), the score now 2-1.
At 7:23, the Ephs captured the 3-1 lead. On what became a 2-1 opportunity down low, Cellini fed a cross pass to senior David Italiano, who was able to put one past Fenton to capture the two goal lead. Italiano (seventh goal) was assisted on the play by Cellini (tenth assist) and junior Keanu Hilaire (third assist).
The Cardinals made a goaltending change following this third consecutive goal for the Ephs. Freshman Jimmy Poreda was now between the pipes for Plattsburgh.
This change did not deter the Ephs, who continued on with their momentum by adding another goal to their lead at 8:29. Freshman Tyler Scott fired off a fluttering puck from outside the left circle. Poreda was caught off guard, and the puck hit his glove before finding its way to the back of the net. Scott (third goal) was assisted by junior Marcus Mollica (sixth assist). This goal brought the score to 4-1 headed into the final period of play. Shots were 25-22 for Williams headed into the final period of play.
At 15:13 a penalty was called against the Cardinals, however just three seconds later, a penalty was also called against the Ephs. While normally a 4-4 opportunity, Plattsburgh called a timeout and pulled their goalie to gain the extra man, and create a man advantage for themselves.
At 16:30, with the goalie pulled, the Cardinals were able to get back to within two. Two Plattsburgh offensemen were in the crease, and the initial shot by junior Cam Owens wobbled off the post. Classmate Cole Stallard (fourth goal) was able to follow up on the rebound and secure the goal for the Cardinals. Owens (12th assist) earned the assist on the goal. This goal brought the game to 4-2.
The Ephs were able to secure an empty netter at 17:54 to bring the game to 5-2. Mollica was credited with the goal (fourth goal), and Scott (second assist) was awarded with the assist.
At 19:37, the Ephs were able to score another empty netter to bring the game to its final score of 6-2. This was Van Belle's sixth goal of the season, and he was assisted on the play by senior Joe Welch (seventh assist).
The game ended at 6-2, shots 36-33 for Plattsburgh State.
The Ephs are on the road next weekend, facing Bowdoin Friday, the 19th, at 7:00PM, and Colby on Saturday the 20th at 3:00PM. The Cardinals next face Wesleyan this Tuesday, January 16th, on the road with puck drop at 7:00 PM.
"This is a unique part of our season. We have ten conference games left, five at home and five on the road," observed Monti. "We have certainly taken steps in the right direction, but have to buckle down for an intense stretch of hockey, starting with Bowdoin and Colby on the road next weekend."