Williamstown, MA - The Williams College Ephs (2-0/2-0 NESCAC) come out with a victory against the Bowdoin Polar Bears (1-1/1-1 NESCAC) 5-1.
Emotions were running high tonight during the Eph's first matchup against the Polar Bears. With 13 game penalties, both teams played equally aggressively and gave lots of power play opportunities to their opponents. Eph freshman Goalie Evan Ruschil and the Eph's defense played a huge role in securing the win over Bowdoin.
The first period opened up with a power play goal by the Ephs. Within the first 7 minutes the Bowdoin Polar Bears had Graham Rutiedge and Pat Geary sent to the penalty box for tripping and cross-checking respectively, setting up a 5 v 3 in favor of the Ephs. With the Polar Bears down two players, Sophomore forward Niko Karamanis, assisted by Nick VanBelle and Myles Cunningham, easily took advantage and ripped a phenomenal shot past the left side of Bowdin goalie Alex Zafonte.
Following the first goal, both teams had power play opportunities after Eph forward Tyler Colligan was set to the penalty box for hooking and Bowdoin's Max Ginsberg was sent for boarding. Neither team was able to score. After both power play exchanges, Will Somer, assisted by Tyler Colligan and Myles Cunningham, what would prove to be the game-winning goal passed Goalie Alex Zafonte's left side to put the Ephs up to 2-0.
Although the number of shots for the Ephs and the Polar Bears, were 11 and 10 respectively, the Ephs kept the pressure on the Polar Bears during the majority of the first period. Starting goalie Freshman Goalie Evan Ruschil stepped up, blocking all shots during the first period.
During the second period, the Polar Bears upped the offense by placing the puck in their scoring zone, which kept the Eph defensemen on their toes. The Ephs responded with a phenomenal period of defense. Even with a 5 v 4 power play for the Ephs, the Polar Bears kept the puck in their offensive zone. Less than 2 minutes into the second period and still no goal, Bowdoin's head coach Jamie Dumont pulled his goalie putting 6 players on the ice, trying to build off the offensive momentum set in the second period against the Ephs.
At 2:45, Wyatt Glover was sent to the penalty box for high sticking, opening up a power play opportunity for the Polar Bears. Another penalty for the Ephs ont Bobby Benier put the Ephs at a disadvantage and giving Bowdoin a 5 v 3. The Ephs responded to this situation with outstanding defense and did not allow a goal. Both defensive and offensive players had a fantastic block, while freshman goalie Evan Ruschil stepped up by making save after save.
At 11:03, Bowdoin responded with a goal from Jimmy Duffy, assisted by Albert Washco and Pat Geary, after Duffy picked up a loose puck from a rebound and wheeled it into the goal. Eight minutes later, Daniel Woolfenen made a fantastic pass over to the far-left side of the goal where Wyatt Glover who, at the doorstep of the goal, smashed the puck straight into the left side. This put the game at 3-1 with the Ephs in the lead.
During the third period both teams had 3 penalties, however, the Ephs were able to score two unanswered goals during power plays. During the 5 v 4 player power play, set by Bowdoin's Joe Alexander five-minute penalty at 3:33, defenseman Myles Cunningham, assisted by Jack McCool and Nick Vanbelle scored with a slap shot entering the upper right side of the goal. Still in power play, Niko Karmanis wrapped up the scoring for the game at 6:44, picking up a rebound off goalie Alex Zafonte's pad and putting the puck into the net.
Although the last 13 minutes of the game had four more power plays, two for each team, both teams were unable to score, and the game ended 5-1 with a Williams College win.
With this win, Head Coach Bill Kangas collected his 400th victory and extend his own record as the all-time winningest hockey coach in Eph history.
"I am really happy for the team. We had two really tough and good teams coming in for our opening weekend in the NESCAC. I'm real proud of their resiliency on the ice and what they accomplished this weekend. We have a great group of guys who pull for each other," commented head coach Kangas. "We are excited about how we played, but we know that we have a long way to go. Our next goal is to prepare and get ready for next week."
The Ephs will next take on Connecticut College at Connecticut College next Friday at 7:00pm.