HARTFORD, CT -- The Williams College Ephs (10-9-0, 6-7-0 NESCAC) lost to the Trinity Bantams (14-3-2, 11-1-1 NESCAC) 4-3 tonight in Bantam territory. The Ephs were unable to overcome the two goal deficit generated by the Bantams, who scored back to back goals at the closing of the second period, and opening of the third period, to solidify the win.
"I thought we played well," commented Williams head coach Mike Monti. "Obviously, it is tough to see the result on the scoreboard, but the first thing the coaching staff told the team after the game is that we are getting better."
These two teams last faced each other in early January in Williamstown, and Williams came away with a 5-1 victory in that contest.
The Bantams came into this match riding a seven game win streak, while conversely, the Ephs came into the contest having lost their past four games.
Starting in net for the Ephs tonight was junior Michael Pinios. Pinios came into this match with a save percentage of .919. In the opposing crease was senior Alex Morin, who came into the game with a .929 save percentage.
There were no goals scored in the first period, however five goals were scored in the second period, two for Williams and three for Trinity.
The first goal of the game came from the Bantams, at 5:13 on an even strength play facilitated by sophomore Charlie Zuccarini (fifth assist). It was junior Mark Knowlton (fourth goal) that was able to put away the first goal for Trinity, bringing the game to 1-0.
The Ephs responded several minutes later on the power play. Trinity's James Callahan was sent to the box for cross checking, giving the Ephs the extra man opportunity. It was senior David Italiano (10th goal), the team's leading scorer, that was able to get one past Morin on this power play at 9:13. Italiano was assisted by classmate and captain Colby Cretella (second assist) to bring the game to an even 1-1.
Bantam senior Griffyn Martin was called to the box for interference minutes later, giving the Ephs their second consecutive man advantage, as well as their second straight power play goal. At 12:40, the Ephs took the 2-1 lead after Cretella (second goal) cashed in on his second point, and first goal of the game, on a play assisted by junior Roberto Cellini (11th assist).
Trinity was able to get the equalizer around two minutes later back on even strength. At 14:53, sophomore Andy Chugg (third goal) was able to tie it up at 2-2. Chugg was assisted on the play by freshman Dylan Healey (fifth assist) and senior Tyler Whitney (tenth assist).
At 19:03, the Bantams rounded out the period with recapturing the lead. Freshman Eric Benshadle cashed in his sixth goal of the season on this play, and was assisted by Gryffin Martin (third assist) to bring the score to 3-2 headed into the locker rooms.
Trinity started off the period with asserting a two goal lead. At just :42, senior Connor Hegarty (third goal) was able to fire one past Pinios on a play assisted by Healey (sixth assist) and Whitney (11th assist) to bring the score to 4-2 early on in the final period of play.
The Ephs brought the game back to within one at 11:31 of the third period. Senior C.J. Shugart (eighth goal) scored the goal on the play, and was assisted by freshman Tyler Scott (fifth assist) and junior Marcus Mollica (seventh assist). This goal brought the score to 4-3 with a little under half of the period remaining.
At 18:54, the Ephs were granted a late opportunity on the extra man. Mark Knowlton was called to the box for hooking, and was also given a game misconduct. Williams head coach Mike Monti pulled Pinios as well, giving the Ephs a 6-4 man advantage, however the Bantam defensive unit was able to protect their one goal lead to the buzzer.
"We are improving every day, in practice, in games, mentally, and physically, and tonight's effort was as complete of an effort as we have seen," praised Monti. "We scored two power play goals, which was great to see, we killed off a lot of penalty kill time, including a five on three."
The game ended with the final score of 4-3 for Trinity, with shots coming in at 32-24 for the Bantams.
The Ephs next face Wesleyan tomorrow (Saturday Feb. 3rd) at 3:00PM on the road. Trinity next faces off against Middlebury at home tomorrow afternoon at 4:00PM.
"In preparation for tomorrow, I've asked the team to bring the same energy that they did tonight. We competed hard, and when we do the little things right, we will have success," said Monti.