Feb. 12, 2011
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - The Williams College men's hockey team (13-6-3) withstood late pressure from UMass Boston (14-8-0) to earn a 2-1 victory Saturday afternoon. Cody Skinner '13 scored in the first period and Ben Contini '11 added a goal in the second frame to hand the Beacons their fifth loss in six games.
Neither side could generate much offense early in the game, although both teams got opportunities to score on the power play. UMass Boston went on the man-advantage twice within the first five minutes, but the Eph penalty kill was up to the challenge, using a strong forecheck to prevent the Beacons from setting up in the offensive zone. Williams had a chance of its own on the power play at the ten-minute mark but couldn't convert.
The Ephs finally got on the board with seven minutes remaining in the period on a goal from Skinner. The goal was generated by a large scrum in front of the net, and Skinner managed to corral the puck and slam it home for the goal to put Williams up 1-0. Evan Dugdale '13 got credit for the assist.
Williams had a great opportunity to extend its lead with 4:30 left, as Contini caught an airborne puck right in front of the net. However, Contini's shot was denied by Beacon goaltender Thomas Speer, and the Ephs settled for a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room.
The Ephs came out strong in the second frame, taking advantage of another power play just five minutes into the period to take a 2-0 lead. Near the end of the power play, Eric Rubino '13 found Contini at the top left corner of the offensive zone. Contini made a nice move to skate to the center of the ice and fired a wrist shot that snuck inside the left post for the goal.
The Beacons would respond minutes later, however, when Chris Wilcox scored on a slapshot from the right side that deflected off the glove of goaltender Ryan Purdy '12 and trickled into the net, making the score 2-1 Ephs.
Williams had a chance to score on a 5-on-3 man-advantage late in the period, but they couldn't find the net. The Ephs skated off with a 2-1 lead after Purdy made a great save on a Beacon shot just as the buzzer sounded to end the second period.
Purdy played a solid game, finishing with 25 saves on 26 shots in 60 minutes of play. Beacon goaltender Thomas Speer ended the afternoon with 18 saves on 20 shots in 59 minutes of play.
The final period was very tense, as both the Beacons and the Ephs battled to take control of the game. Williams almost added its third goal of the game five minutes into the stanza; Contini skated down the middle of the ice on a 3-on-2 breakaway and dropped the puck back to John Wickman '13 on the right side. Wickman blasted a wrist shot on goal, but the puck was deflected and sent wide.
The Ephs got another great opportunity at around the ten-minute mark after a wraparound attempt from the right side by co-captain Matt Masucci '11 left the puck open on the left side of the net. Connor Olvany '11 went to poke it in, but a Beacon defender just got his stick on it to prevent the goal.
UMass Boston turned up the heat offensively in the final five minutes of the game, testing Purdy with a number of hard shots. The junior goaltender held strong, however, making save after save to keep the Beacons off the board and ultimately preserve a 2-1 victory for the Ephs.
Commenting on his team's effort this afternoon, Head Coach Bill Kangas noted, "At this point in the season it's important to be able to grind out wins, and we did that today. We weren't as sharp as we were last night [against Babson], but we attacked well and got some timely goals. [Getting two wins this weekend] is a good way to start the homestand."
The Ephs will get a week of rest until Friday night, when they face one of their biggest challenges of the season in Castleton State College (18-3-1). Castleton is currently ranked 3rd nationally, and prior to their loss to Norwich on Friday night they had not lost in 13 straight games. The game will be played on Friday the 18th at 7 PM in Lansing Chapman Rink.
*Release content courtesy of Williams Sports Information Dept.