Williamstown, MA– Host team, Williams (4-2-1, 3-1-1 NESCAC) downed the Amherst Mammoths (3-3-1, 1-3-1 NESCAC), 4-2.
Emotions were running high tonight during the prime time game against the two rivals. Amherst came off the bench strong, coming off a good win against NESCAC powerhouse Trinity College, and the home team, Williams was hungry for their third NESCAC win. The Mammoths were offensively dominant in the first period, taking six shots against Eph netminder, senior Michael Pinios, while the Ephs only managed three shots on Amherst sophomore Michael Cullen. Although, offensively not as strong in the first period, the Ephs defensive line-up was quick on to the puck and was able to hold off the incoming Mammoth squad. The first period ended with an Amherst elbowing penalty against sophomore Pieter von Steinbergs at 19:09, giving the Ephs an early second period advantage to get on the board first.
Although the Ephs did not capitalize on the one minute advantage leftover from von Steinbergs' penalty, the Ephs still made quite the showing during the second period. Their passes were sharper and their skating was faster.
With this newfound energy, the Ephs made an early charge to post the first point on the board. At just 6:48 into the second period, Eph freshman Nick Altman scored his fourth goal of his college career from the left point. He was assisted by sophomore Daniel Woolfenden.
But the Ephs weren't done just yet. The Ephs' penalty kill squad was brought onto the ice at 9:48 when sophomore Mike Armstrong was called for slashing. The Mammoths had an opportunity to score but, instead, all of their attempts were shut down. The Ephs' special teams went the extra mile when sophomore Jack McCool setup up junior Wyatt Glover for the Ephs' second goal at 11:43.
After the second period break, it was Amherst's turn to come out of the locker room steaming. They knew that they would need to net one quickly to cut down Williams' lead by half. They did just that at 12:52 when the goal from Mammoth freshman Stephan Rex came. Rex caught a loose puck from sophomore PIeter von Steinbergs and freshman Sean Wrenn and took it over the shoulder of Pinions.
The momentum changed after Amherst scored their first goal and seemed that the Williams confidence had been shaken. The Mammoth momentum was short-lived, however, when Williams answered with a third period goal of their own. At 14:18 Glover netted his second goal of the game and was assisted by sophomore Tyler Scott.
With the clock winding down, the Amherst team decided to pull Cullen from the crease to give Amherst the man advantage. Cullen hadn't even reached the bench when his team netted their second goal of the game. At 18:25, Amherst sophomore Jack Llyod was assisted by sophomore Nick Bondra and freshman Sean Wrenn.
With just under a minute and a half to play and one goal down, Cullen was pulled from the ice at 18:34. Just twenty seconds later, this proved to backfire on Amherst when Eph sophomore Jack McCool found the empty net from the Williams zone at 18:53. The two-goal lead was too much for the Amherst team to overcome and the Williams Ephs earned their fourth win of the season and their third win in the NESCAC conference.
"The guys did a great job in all 3 zones, especially in our defensive zone," said Eph head coach Bill Kangas. "I thought we competed hard on loose pucks and along the wall, and our shot blocking was solid tonight. Our team understands the importance of bringing that same level of intensity into our afternoon game tomorrow versus Hamilton."
The Ephs will play again at home against Hamilton at 3pm on Saturday.