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Amherst 2 Colby 2 (OT)

Williams 2 Norwich 1

Bowdoin 6 Hamilton 1

Middlebury 7 St. Mike’s 2

Trinity 4 Tufts 1

Connecticut Coll 3 Wesleyan 2


1. Williams: 10-3-1 (21 pts)

Bowdoin: 10-4-1 (21 pts)

Amherst: 9-3-3 (21 pts)

4. Trinity 9-4-2 (20 pts)

5. Middlebury: 7-3-4 (18 pts)

6. Hamilton: 8-6-1 (17 pts)

7. Colby: 6-5-4 (16 pts)

8. Tufts: 5-7-3 (13 pts)

9. Conn College: 4-10-1 (9 pts)

10. Wesleyan: 3-11-0 (6 pts)

A three-way tie for first among Williams, Bowdoin, and Amherst but the Ephmen are in the driver’s seat due to to having a game in hand. Trinity knocks off Tufts in a late-starting game to pull within 1 point of the top spot. Williams picks up its 2 points the hard way today, playing giant killer and handing the Norwich cadets their first defeat of the year. Amherst experiences a very bad trip to Maine but has the easiest schedule of the three first place teams the rest of the way so could still end up as the no. 1 seed. Bowdoin looks very strong this weekend, easily handling excellent Amherst and Hamilton teams and remains very much in the running for the no. 1 spot. Middlebury (3 points out in the 5th spot) and Williams have a game in hand and will play each other this Tuesday in that game. This Tuesday’s game and he next 2 weekends of NESCAC hockey should be everything that a fan could want as there are 5 serious contenders for the no. 1 spot in Amherst, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Trinity, and Williams – each one has its strengths and weaknesses and any one of them could prevail.

Hard to tell exactly where luck played its role in Williams’ big win over Norwich. On the one hand, Norwich dominated the ice completely, outshooting the Ephmen by an astonishing 43-16. On the other hand, Williams dominated the penalty box, giving the Cadet 6 power play opportunities (receiving only 1 power play opportunity of its own), which helps to explain Norwich’s territorial domination. Be that as it may, Williams manages to cash in its sole power play opportunity and Alex Smigelski scores the game winner at 10:31 of the third, and Ryan Purdy is, as usual, stellar in net for Williams. Next up for Williams?? Middlebury just 3 days away as the 2 travel partners meet at Lansing Rink in Williamstown and Williams has the chance to move into sole possession of first place.

The other Smigelski brother comes up big today too as Mike Smigelski ties up the game for Colby at 17:00 of the third. With his 10th goal of the year and Cody McKinney’s ability to match Amherst’s Cole Anderson save for save, the Mules tie Amherst, 2-2, and send the Lord Jeffs back to Amherst with almost nothing to show for the trip to Maine. The Jeffs can still win it all but cooperation will be required to prevent Williams (or even Bowdoin) form capturing the no. 1 spot.

Bowdoin has a superb weekend as it completes the sweep after yesterday’s big win over Amherst, clobbering Hamilton by a score of 6-1 and bringing its 7-game unbeaten streak to a screeching halt in the friendly confines of Watson Arena. Chris Rossi is stellar in net for the Polar Bears again tonight as Hamilton had several power play opportunities in the first and took the lead 1-0 at the end of the period. The Polar Bears recapture their momentum and started to control the game in the second period and then completely controlled the game in the third period with an astonishing 3 short-handed goals, including 2 by Captain Colin MacCormack.  Next up for Bowdoin is a tough game in Hartford with Trinity on Friday night. Hamilton continues to experience goaltending problems, which may preclude it from being a serious NESCAC contender. Scott Hefferman got the start but gave way in the third to Ian Stearns after giving up 5 goals. Hamilton’s other goalie, Calvin Bartel, did not dress, suggesting that he may be injured.

Trinity shows that it belongs among the NESCAC elite with a solid 4-1 win over Tufts in an unusual evening game. The Bantams stand in 4th place but are only 1 point out of first and have the chance on this coming Friday to leapfrog Bowdoin with a win. Trinity faces the usual Scott Barchard performance in net for Tufts (SOGs are 48-28 in Trinity’s favor) but nonetheless manages to grab control of the game in the first period of a penalty-filled game with 2 quick goals and does not give up that control for the rest of the way. Tufts manages to draw within 2 at the 9:53 mark of the second period but Wes Vesprini and the Trinity D shut the Jumbos down for the rest of the game and Trinity adds an empty netter for the final 3-goal margin.

It takes a period for the Middlebury-St.Mike’s game to turn into a rocking chair game but it does by the second period as the Panthers easily handle the Knights, 7-2, and dominate the game territorially (37-18 SOGs). Middlebury D-man Tucker Donahoe is seriously injured in the second period and the game is delayed while he is stabilized and removed from the ice on the stretcher. Apparently his arms and legs were moving so let’s hope that he’ll make a quick recovery as Colby’s Dan Nelson did in January during a similarly scary incident in the Norwich game. Three Panthers have 3 point games (1-2-3 for the 2 Charlies (Strauss and Townsend) and 3 assists for Tom Clayton).


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