WILLIAMSTOWN, MASS. –The Williams College (17-7-1) men's ice hockey team scored three first period goals and made them stand up in posting a 3-2 win over visiting Connecticut College (11-12-1) in a NESCAC Tournament quarterfinal contest this afternoon.
The Ephs' Mac Carso scored off rebound from a shot off the stick of Nick VanBelle. Carso collected the puck just to the right of Connecticut College goalie Conner Rodericks who was not able to react quickly enough to deny Carso who shelfed the puck just 2:58 into the opening period.
Williams had the first power play opportunity of the game when the Camels' Matt Creamer was called for tripping at 10:52. The Ephs capitalized on the man advantage at 12:08 when Nick VanBelle scored. Niko Karamanis started the play with a steal of the puck just outside the blue line and fed the puck into the zone to Mac Carso who passed to Nick Altmann who fired on goal and Nick Van Belle was there to clean up the rebound, giving the Ephs a 3-0 lead. Nick Altmann assisted on the third Eph goal.
Post-game VanBelle stated that he did not think that his goal would be the game-winner. "I was definitely a little surprised that that was the game-winner because I thought we were going to keep putting more in the net," said Van Belle. "We came out a little slow and they came back, but in the third we just put it all out there and won the game."
Williams took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. The Ephs outshot the Camels 16-6 in the period with Eph netminder Cosimo Lazzarino stopping all six Connecticut College shots and the Camels' Conner Rodericks stopping 11 of 14 Eph shots.
The whole complexion of the game changed in the second period. Though down three goals the Camels came out and seized control of the second period and fought their way back into the contest. Forty-nine seconds into the period the Ephs went on the power play when the Camels' Brett Stirling was called for boarding. Connecticut College, however, was successful in killing off the penalty to Stirling.
Connecticut College owned the last twelve minutes of the second period and notched two goals and threatened twice more only to be stopped by two sensational saves by Lazzarino and the luck of the post on a shot by the Camels Paul Capozzi.
Connecticut College's first goal came at 7:09 of the period when Anthony Quatieiri fed a streaking Matt Creamer who fired a shot past Lazzarino. The Camels were back on the scoreboard again at 12:01 when Colin Stevens scored, assisted by Ryan Petti and Paul Capozzi.
With twenty-six seconds left in the period the Ephs' Niko Karamanis and the Camels' Eric Fournier were both sent off for roughing, resulting in 4 on 4 hockey for the last seconds of the period and extending a minute and 34 seconds into the third period.
Connecticut College outshot the Ephs in the second period, 16-6. Lazzarino stopped 14 shots by the Camels and Rodericks denied all 6 Eph attempts.
Williams took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
The third period started with both teams down a man and the game remained 3-2 Williams after that opening session with four skaters for each team.
Rodericks was under heavy pressure at 3:57 with a blistering shot by Mac Carso and then the follow-up attempt by Nick VanBelle, but Rodericks was up to the task on both shots keeping it a one-goal game.
The third period featured good hard hockey with plenty of runs from end to end by both teams. At 6:37 a glove save by Lazzarino off a bid by Jeff Thompson from just inside the blue line to his right kept the Ephs up by a goal.
At 17:06 Steven Senese whipped around and fired a shot on Lazzarino that the Eph goalie kicked aside and then he was able to somehow stop the follow-up attempt by Eric Fournier.
Connecticut College pulled Rodericks at 18:31 for the extra skater, but the Camels were unable to find the game-tying goal and Williams claimed a 3-2 win and will host the NESCAC Tournament semifinals next weekend.
Connecticut College outshot the Ephs 12-10 in the third period and 36 to 33 on the day.
Eph head coach noted after the game, "This is a really tough league. Connecticut College comes in as the eighth seed and going into the last weekend they could have finished fourth.
"It was three different games [each period its own game], but it is nice to come out with a win and this time of the year it is all about finding a way to win. I give Conn a lot of credit they really came at us in the second period when we were up three goals. We kind of got out of our structure a bit and tried to force some plays and played a little bit atypical of how we play and they capitalized on that. Their compete level went very high in the second period and we did not match it. I thought in the third period we kept them outside and they got some shots on Cos [Lazzarino] but we were able to clear some rebounds."
With the win today the Ephs will host next weekend's NESCAC Tournament semifinals and finals.
On Saturday March 7 Williams will play Little Three rival Wesleyan and Trinity will play Hamilton in the Ephs' Lansing Chapman rink and Saturday's winners will meet on Sunday in Lansing Chapman rink as well.
Semifinals - Saturday, March 7
No. 3 Hamilton vs. No. 2 Trinity - 1:00 p.m.
No. 5 Wesleyan at No. 1 Williams - 4:00 p.m.
Championship - Sunday, March 8
Semifinal Winners - 2:00 p.m.