Jeffs Rally to Best Williams, 5-3

Jeffs Rally to Best Williams, 5-3

AMHERST, Mass. - After falling behind, 2-0 early in the first period, the No. 10/11 Amherst College men's hockey team rallied for an impressive, 5-3 victory over archrival Williams College on Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.

With the win, Amherst concludes its regular season slate, 18-4-2 overall, 14-4-0 in NESCAC play. Williams moves to 14-8-2 on the season, 10-7-1 in league play.

In the opening period, Williams came out firing and broke through at the 7:36 mark when David Italiano scored a power-play goal to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead. At the 17:18 mark playing 4-on-4, Tyler Young extended Williams' lead to 2-0 when he scored with a wrist-shot following a pass from George Hunkele.

It didn't take long for Amherst to answer as David White '18 continued to find his scoring touch as he netted a power play goal - his 17th strike of the 2014-15 campaign - at the 18:56 mark with helpers from Thomas Lindstrom '18 and Aaron Deutsch '15. The goal pulled the Jeffs to within one (2-1) after 20 minutes of action as Williams held a 14-8 advantage in shots on target in the first period.

Just 4:30 into the second stanza, Austin Ho '17 had a chance to knot the game at 2-2 but Ephs' goalie Sean Dougherty was able to bat the attempt away. Less than two minutes later, the Purple & White potted the equalizer as Andrew Fenwick '15 scored his fifth goal of the season. Patrick Mooney '18 and Daniel Merenich '15 provided the assists on the goal that set the score at 2-2.

With just over five minutes left in the second stanza, Williams had a 5-on-3 advantage, but a stellar defensive effort from Amherst, and superb goal-tending by Danny Vitale '15, allowed the Jeffs to kill off the Ephs' two-man advantage.

With three seconds left in the frame, and with an offensive zone faceoff on the power play, Amherst pulled Vitale in favor of an additional skater. Senior co-captain Mike Rowbotham won the ensuing faceoff and the puck found its way to co-captain Jake Turrin '15 who blasted a shot from the center of the blue line, but Dougherty fended off the shot to keep the game level at 2-2 after 40 minutes of action.  

Twenty-two seconds into the third period, Chris Roll '17 scored his second goal of the season after a beautiful set up pass from Mike Cashman '15 in front of the net. Turrin added the second assist on the play as Amherst took a 3-2 lead in the contest. At the 3:40 mark, Tyler Granara '18 sent a laser from the right point into the back of the net for his first collegiate goal. Kevin Ryder '16 connected with Rowbotham, who left the puck for Granara with plenty of space, and the first-year defenseman delivered it into the top right corner to give the Purple & White a 4-2 lead. 

At the 13:01 mark, Amherst scored its fifth unanswered goal and increased the lead to 5-2 when Brendan Burke '16 scored on the rebound following a shot by Ryder that was blocked in front of the net. Lindstrom was credited with the secondary assist on Burke's fifth goal of the season.

With just 15 seconds to play in regulation, Italiano netted his second goal of the game on assists from Colby Cretella and James McNamara to set the final score at 5-3.

Williams out-shot Amherst, 43-29 in the game, but Vitale (11-3-2) was able to turn away 40 shots, and used tremendous blocking from his defense to seal the victory. Dougherty (11-8-1) made 24 saves for the Ephs in the losing effort.

Turrin led the Jeffs with five shots on goal, while Dan Doherty, David Jarrett and C.J. Shugart notched five shots on target each for Williams.

Amherst returns to action on Saturday, February 28 in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 NESCAC Championship tournament. The Jeffs earned the second seed in the tournament and will host seventh-seeded Middlebury College.