SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – With three goals in the first 12 minutes of the second period, Skidmore College was able to edge men's hockey by the final score of 3-2 Saturday evening in the first round of the ECAC East tournament.
Saturday's win advances the fourth seeded Thoroughbreds (12-12-2) to next week's semi-final round where they will face top-seeded Norwich University. Norwich will host both semi-final games on Friday and the championship game on Saturday. The Beacons closed out the 2011-12 season with an overall record 13-10-3.
UMass Boston would strike first in Saturday's first-round game with John Hubbard (Arlington, Texas) scoring his first goal of the season just four minutes into the period. Assisting on the play was Anthony Fitti (Havertown, Pa.) and Mike DeGrazia (Novi, Mich.). The Beacons would maintain the one goal lead and would outshoot Skidmore 15-9.
After the first intermission, Skidmore quickly tied the game at 1-1 just 64 seconds into the second frame. Eight minutes later, the Thoroughbreds took their first lead of the night on the power-play with a Phil Buonocore score. Just moments later Skidmore made it a two-goal game, once again on the power-play with the eventual game-winning score going to Chris Powers.
Now down by two the Beacons needed to get back into the game as soon as possible. Less than two minutes after falling into the score hole, Tim Richter (Naugatuck, Conn.) made it just a one-goal game on his even strength tally.
The period would end with both teams even in the shots column as they each got off a combined 13 shots each. In the final frame there was just one penalty called over the course of the final 20 minutes of play. Skidmore would hold onto their lead and led the period with an 8-7 advantage in shots.
Between the pipes Kevin Bendel (Denville, N.J.) posted 27 saves, while his Skidmore counterpart Colin Bessey made 33 saves to improve to 11-10-0 on the year. On the power-play the Thoroughbreds finished the night 2-for-4, while UMass was 0-for-3 on the man-up chances.
Saturday's contest marked the final game in the college careers of nine senior members in Bendel, Fitti, Hubbard, Bill Baker (Vancouver, B.C.), Bryan Albert (Redlands, Calif.), Kyle Tejchma (Fruitport, Mich.), Chris Wyman (Bartlett, Ill.), Jim Ennis (Roslindale, Mass.), and Andrew Burke (Southampton, Pa.). Despite the loss the Beacons can skate away from this season know that it was perhaps one of the most memorable years in the programs history as they toppled two top-5 teams, which included handing the first-seeded Cadets of Norwich University their first loss of the season.