Williamstown, MA – Williams (4-7/NESCAC 3-4) defeated Hamilton (3-8/NESCAC 1-7) 10-9 in a game that featured six ties. Riley Hoffman's goal off a Bryson Gilbert-Bono feed at 3:32 in the final quarter was the difference maker.
Early on in the game, Williams and Hamilton had very different approaches offensively but both were effective. Hamilton had slow possessions often with one shot, while Williams fired early and often on offense.
The Ephs had fourteen shots in the first quarter and Hamilton had five, but that difference in shots didn't translate to as large of a difference in goals as Williams scored four times in the quarter compared to Hamilton's three. The prettiest goal of the game was scored in the first quarter, when Hamilton's Sam Sweet cut across the crease, received a pass from J.D. Brachman, and fired in a behind the back shot to score.
In the second quarter the Ephs were able to disrupt Hamilton's clears very effectively. At 9:37 Williams got the ball onto their offensive side of the field and kept it there for a long time by forcing turnovers whenever Hamilton attempted to clear the ball.
On Hamilton's third clear attempt, Devlin Nelligan intercepted a pass that led to a Williams fast break and score to give the Ephs a 6-4 lead, the largest lead of the game. However Hamilton ended the quarter on a two-goal run, with the second coming with three seconds left in the half, to tie the game up.
In the third quarter both offenses slowed down. Neither team was able to find the net effectively in the quarter. Williams wasn't able to score in regular offensive sets, however they got two man-up opportunities in the quarter and that led to two goals for the Ephs, one by Peter Crane, and one by Thomas Fowler. Dan Cahill also scored a goal in the quarter for Hamilton and so the Ephs started the fourth quarter ahead 8-7.
In the fourth quarter the game remained close as each team scored an early goal and then neither team could score for an extended period of time. At 5:45 Joe Ricuitti scored for Hamilton to tie the score up at nine. Shortly after the Ephs' Riley Hoffman, who played defense, though he typically plays long-stick midfield, scored what proved to be the game-winner on a fast break with 3:32 left in the game.
From there, Williams had to maintain their lead. They won the next faceoff, but turned the ball over on a shot clock violation at 1:40.
Hamilton looked to Sam Sweet, who already had two goals in the game, to create offense for them. He drove from the left wing with 0:08 left in the game, and Riley Hoffman defended him for Williams, forcing Sweet into a bad shot. Hoffman collected the ground ball for the Ephs and sealed the win.
Thomas Fowler led the Ephs with four goals.
Sam Sweet led Hamilton on offense with two goals and two assists.
Williams' goalie Miles McCarthy played 60:00 and allowed nine goals and had twelve saves.
Hamilton's goalie John Schisler player 60:00 and allowed ten goals and had fourteen saves.
Defense was a major key to the Ephs success, Williams' coach George McCormack said, "I thought we played great team defense, we switched up a couple guys, we put Devlin (Nelligan) up top and Riley (Hoffman) down low, and they really played well with each other. Miles (McCarthy) played really well in the cage."
The attack unit also contributed to the defense by forcing turnovers on Hamilton's clear attempts; McCormack said, "Our attack unit was really riding guys hard and they were chasing guys down."
The next game for the Ephs is Saturday, April 16 when they will play Colby at home at 1:00 P.M.