WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – In their home opener, the Williams College Ephs (3-1-0, 2-0-0 NESCAC) matched the formidable #4-ranked SUNY-Geneseo Knights (9-1-1) shot for shot, but their comeback attempt ultimately fell short in a 3-1 defeat.
Geneseo immediately capitalized on a slashing penalty against Eph sophomore defenseman Daniel Woolfenden, taking a 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Geneseo defenseman Duggie Lagrone less than four minutes into the game. The Knights extended their lead with another goal when defenseman Will Campion took advantage of a rebound off of senior goaltender Michael Pinios' right pad and put a one-timer wrist shot into the back-left corner of the net.
The Knights successfully bookended the first period with goals to take a commanding early 2-0 lead, as their second goal came with just :19.6 left in the period. The Ephs out shot the powerful Knights in the first period, 11-8.
Geneseo continued their onslaught, however, by scoring another power play goal less than five minutes into the second period, this time by forward Zach Lynes. The Ephs had many opportunities in the period to start a comeback – including a 1-on-1 scoring chance less than one minute after Geneseo's goal – but were held scoreless in the first two periods for the first time this season thanks to an excellent performance by Geneseo goalie Devin McDonald.
In the third, the Ephs struck back when senior forward Marcus Mollica scored a power-play goal – his team-leading sixth goal of the season – on a wrist shot to cut the deficit to 3-1 with thirteen minutes to go.
"We needed a goal, and that power play goal was a big play for us at that time," remarked Eph head coach Bill Kangas.
But the Ephs were stymied by the Geneseo defense, being held without a shot on goal for ten minutes at one point in the third period. Despite a flurry of shots inside two minutes, where they had a 6-on-4 advantage on an empty-net power play, the Ephs were unable to cut into the deficit any further.
In spite of the 3-1 loss, the Ephs matched the Knights with 25 shots. While the Knights converted two of their five power play chances, the Ephs were only able to score on one of five. Pinios saved 22 of 25 shot attempts (88.0%), but McDonald had an especially impressive game, blocking 24 of 25 attempts (96.0%) and routinely making difficult saves.
"[Geneseo is] a good team, and we knew that coming in," said Kangas. "They stressed us out in some areas, which is good for us. I thought that we let it affect us for a little too long, but the last 30 minutes, I thought we played really well.I think this is a pretty motivated group. It's a great group to coach."
Next Friday at 7:00PM, the Ephs continue their homestand against Tufts (1-3-0, 0-2-0 NESCAC).