Clinton, NY–The Williams Ephs (14-8-2, 10-6-2 NESCAC) lose to the Hamilton Continentals (12-9-3, 10-5-3 NESCAC) 4-2 in the last regular season game.
The game started off with a rare ten minute penalty on Eph senior captain, Keanu Hilaire for interference at 7:52. The penalty was served by senior Roberto Cellini. The ten minute man disadvantage did not stop the Ephs from gaining their first point of the game with a short-handed goal shortly after Hilaire's penalty. Junior Wyatt Glover scored an unassisted goal at 8:56.
Hamilton answered Glover's goal with an unassisted goal for themselves at 11:21. The Continental goal was scored by junior Bennett Morrison.
The Ephs were able to kill off the remainder of Hilaire's penalty with only Morrison's goal as collateral. The two teams entered the second period tied 1-1.
Hamilton took the lead early in the second with a goal by freshman Andrew Court at 5:34. Court was assisted by junior Cameron Radziwon and sophomore Jon Beniers.
The Ephs received an opportunity to tie the game late in the period when Hamilton sophomore, Nick Rutigliano, was sent to the box for a two minute holding penalty. Williams could not quite the puck past Continental goaltender, freshman Sean Storr, during the two minute penalty. Immediately after Rutigliano was released from the box, however, Hamilton was able to extend their lead to two.
With just 14 seconds left in the period, Hamilton freshman Jordi Jefferson snuck one past Williams netminder, senior Michael Pinios, to leave the score at 3-1 in favor of the away team. Jefferson was assisted by sophomore Blayne Oliver and senior Rory Gagnon.
The two teams played three quarters of the third period fairly evenly. With no penalties in the first 15 minutes or so, both teams were playing clean and aggressive as Williams tried to even the score.
The first advantage Williams got in the period was an interference call on Hamilton senior Jason Brochu at 14.15. The Williams squad took advantage of Brochu's penalty and quickly cut Hamilton's lead to one with a goal at 15:35. The goal came from sophomore Nick VanBelle with assists from senior Roberto Cellini and freshman Niko Karamanis.
With time running out and only one goal back, Pinios was pulled from the posts at 19:27 in hopes of giving the Ephs the extra help they needed to score the equalizer.
It was Hamilton, however, who got the last goal of the of game. At 19:54, just six seconds left in the game, Jefferson scored an empty net goal, assisted by Rutigliano, to seal the win for the Continentals.
"It's always tough to lose but I think the guys are motivated to face Hamilton again next weekend," head coach Bill Kangas said. "The playoffs are structured such that everyone starts evenly so we're excited to see where next weekend takes us."
This was the last regular season game for Williams so the Ephs will face Hamilton next weekend for the first round of NESCACs.