BRUNSWICK, MAINE – The Williams College men's ice hockey team (11-4-1/8-2-0 NESCAC) shook off a sluggish start this afternoon in Bowdoin's Watson Arena and proceeded to score the first five goals of the game to go on and collect a 5-1 win over the Bowdoin Polar Bears (9-7-1/5-5-1 NESCAC).
Eph sophomore forward Jack Forrest led the Eph attack notching a hat trick.
The Williams' offense took a while to kick into gear as the Ephs did not register a shot on goal until 13:13 of the first period and that shot came from the blue line. The Ephs did open the scoring in the contest, however, when Will Somers won a faceoff to the left of Bowdoin goalie Andy Zafonte and the puck went directly to the blue line, where Jack McCool uncorked a slapshot on goal that was tipped home by Jack Forrest at 7:41. Somers and McCool were credited with assists on the score.
The Ephs went on the power play at 11:13 when Bowdoin's Bobby Pearl was sent to the penalty box for slashing. The Ephs did fire three shots on Zafonte, but the Polar Bears killed off the penalty. Bowdoin's Pat Geary tested Eph netminder Evan Ruschil on a short-handed attempt in close when he got a step on the Eph defense and Ruschil was forced to his knees to make the stop and then quickly had to cover the puck on the ice in front of him.
Bowdoin's Albert Washco dashed over the blue line to chase down a bouncing puck that forced Ruschil off his line. In Ruschil's attempt to break up the play he was called for a trip putting Bowdoin on the power play at 17:08. Bowdoin had three good looks at the goal on the power play, but two of three shots went wide and Ruschil stopped the third shot.
Bowdoin outshot the Ephs 15 to 8 in the first 20 minutes, but Ruschil turned aside all of the Polar Bear attempts and Bowdoin's Andy Zafonte denied six of eight Eph shots and the Ephs took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Ephs came out with high energy to start the second period and at 3:15 Bobby Beniers set up Julian Detmer for a quick goal and the Eph lead was now three, 3-0. Bowdoin was soon on a power play when the Ephs' Wyatt Glover was called for holding at 5:14, but the Ephs were able to kill off the penalty to keep their three-goal margin.
At 17:08 the Ephs' Max Fuld was called for slashing putting the Polar Bears on their fourth power play of the afternoon, but once again the Ephs were able to kill off the penalty.
With just under a minute left in the period the Ephs' Jack Forrest chased a Bowdoin defender who tried to escape around the net to the right of Bowdoin goalie Andy Zafonte. Just as the players approached the goal line extended Forrest in one motion took the puck of the Bowdoin player's stick and whipped around to his left and fired a shot just inside the post to the right of Zafonte and into the back of the net, giving the Ephs a 5-0 lead and Forrest a hat trick. The Forrest goal came at 19:11.
After 40 minutes of play the Ephs were on top 5-0 and their rookie goaltender Evan Ruschil had
Stopped all 29 Bowdoin shots and Bowdoin's Andy Zafonte had stopped 12 of the Ephs' 17. shots.
Bowdoin replaced Andy Zafonte in goal in the third period with Kyle St. Denis.
At 7:30 the Eph' Mac Carso came in alone on St. Denis, but St. Denis was up to the task and turned aside Carso's attempt from in close aside to keep the score 5-0 Williams.
At 19:18 Ethan Kimball came down the right side of the rink towards Ruschil's left side, went over the blue line and then he pulled the puck under a defender and slipped it past Ruschil to get Bowdoin on the scoreboard, but it was too little too late for the Polar Bears as the Ephs prevailed 5-1.
For the second time this season the Ephs posted a 5-1 win over Bowdoin and Evan Ruschil was in goal for both Eph wins. In the first match up in November, Ruschil's first collegiate start, he registered 40 saves and allowed one goal and this afternoon he stopped 36 of 37 Bowdoin shots.
Bowdoin's Andy Zafonte stopped 12 of the Ephs' 17 shots in 40 minutes and allowed five goals. Zafonte's replacement Kyle St. Denis made 12 stops in the final period and did not allow a goal.
Eph head coach Bill Kangas said, "The guys worked hard all day, there are no easy games in NESCAC. I was proud of our seniors who showed great leadership when we started off slow reminding the guys to stay with our plan and just compete."
"Evan Ruschil played well again and our penalty kill units were solid all day killing off our three penalties. We played well off the puck and everyone supported each other and we got two big wins in Maine. It's hard to win back to back games on a long road trip so I want to give credit to our team's overall effort. It was great to see everyone contribute this weekend and that's what it takes to be successful."
With today's win the Ephs have climbed over Trinity into first place in the NESCAC.
The Ephs return to action next weekend when they host Connecticut College on Friday at 7:00 PM and Tufts Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM in Lansing Chapman Rink.