HARTFORD, Conn. – The sixth-seeded Amherst College men's ice hockey team is set for a NESCAC Championship semifinal showdown with fifth-seeded Middlebury Saturday, March 5 at 1 p.m. at the Koeppel Center on the campus of Trinity College.
Saturday's other semifinal matchup features second-seeded Trinity and eighth-seeded Tufts at 4:30 p.m. The winners of each semifinal will advance to the NESCAC Championship title game on Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m. at the Koeppel Center in Hartford, Conn.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
- Sixth-seeded Amherst battled back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat third-seeded Bowdoin, 8-5, on Feb. 27 in NESCAC Quarterfinal action at Watson Arena.
- Fifth-seeded Middlebury used overtime to down fourth-seeded Hamilton, 2-1, in quarterfinal play in Clinton, N.Y.
- Second-seeded Trinity defeated seventh-seeded Colby, 3-1, in the NESCAC Quarterfinals in Hartford, Conn.
- Eighth-seeded Tufts upset the No. 1 seed for the second straight year, toppling top-seeded Williams College, 2-1, in a quarterfinal matchup in Williamstown, Mass.
No. 6 Seed (10-11-4, 7-8-3 NESCAC) – Schedule/Roster/Stats
Defending NESCAC Champion Amherst punched its ticket to a semifinal matchup for the third time in as many seasons after exploding for six third period goals to upset No. 3 Bowdoin, 8-5, in quarterfinal play.
Sophomores Thomas Lindstrom and David White lead the way offensively for the Purple & White, with Lindstrom tallying a team-leading eight goals to go along with 11 helpers to post a team-high 19 points. In addition to four goals, White has recorded a team-leading 12 assists for 16 points. Seniors Topher Flanagan, Conor Brown, Patrick Arena, and Kevin Ryder join Lindstrom and White as Amherst's double digit point getters this season.
Senior Dave Cunningham (5-4-4) has been tabbed to start in net 14 times this season for the Purple & White, logging 815:34 minutes while allowing 30 goals and racking up 358 save to record a .923 save percentage and 2.21 goals against average. Sophomore Connor Girard (3-7-0) has nabbed 10 starts in goal, allowing 27 goals in 574:43 minutes to register a .908 save percentage and 2.82 goals against average.
Amherst fell to semifinal opponent Middlebury twice during the regular season, with Theo Hannah '16 scoring the only Purple & White tally of the series.
No. 5 Seed (8-10-7, 6-5-7 NESCAC) – Schedule/Roster/Stats
Appearing in the semifinal round of the NESCAC Championship for the first time since 2013, Middlebury is looking to advance to its first NESCAC final since the 2012 championship game where they fell to Amherst, 4-3.
The Panthers are looking to build on their quarterfinal upset of No. 4 Hamilton and enter the weekend with an 8-10-7 overall ledger. Boasting five double-digit point getters so far this season, Middlebury is led offensively by senior forward Evan Neugold and senior defenseman Ronald Fishman. Neugold has posted six goals and a team-leading 14 assists for 20 points, while Fishman has tallied five goals and 12 assists for 17 points.
Stephen Klein (5-6-2) and Liam Moorfield-Yee (3-4-5) have split time in net for the Panthers, with Klein posting a .923 save percentage and 2.35 goals against average in 14 games (three shutouts) and Moorfield-Yee registering a .929 save percentage and 2.41 goals against average in 12 games.
Middlebury earned two victories versus Amherst during the regular season, downing the Purple & White 2-0 on Dec. 12 and 3-1 on Feb. 21.
No. 2 Seed (19-5-1, 14-4-0 NESCAC) – Schedule/Roster/Stats
The only top-four seed to advance to the semifinals, Trinity enters the weekend looking to reach the NESCAC title game for the first time since 2008 where they defeated Middlebury 3-2 in double overtime to claim their second NESCAC crown.
Boasting four 20-plus point getters and six additional double-digit point getters, the Bantams' 3-1 quarterfinal win over Colby pushed Trinity's overall record to 19-5-1 on the season. Anthony Sabitsky leads the team in points with 25 (11 goals, 14 assists), while Sean Orlando has notched a team-leading 15 helpers to go along with nine goals and Ethan Holdaway has tallied a team-high 13 goals in addition to seven assists (20 points). Ryan Cole is the final Bantam with 20 or more points this year, recording nine goals and 11 helpers.
Alex Morin (12-2-0) has been tabbed to start in goal in 14 games for the Bantams, allowing just 23 goals in 814:34 minutes en route to registering a .937 save percentage and 1.69 goals against average. Nathaniel Heilbron (7-3-1) has also fared well in between the pipes for Trinity, racking up 280 saves for a .903 save percentage and 2.58 goals against average in 12 starts in net.
Trinity claimed a pair of 3-2 victories over Tufts in the regular season series, toppling the Jumbos in the season opener on Nov. 20 and once again midway through the season on Jan. 22.
No. 8 Seed (10-9-6, 5-8-5 NESCAC) – Schedule/Roster/Stats
For the second time in as many opportunities, Tufts earned the final NESCAC Championship playoff spot and used the bid to upset the top-seeded team in the tournament, as they dropped No. 1 Williams, 2-1 in quarterfinal action.
The Jumbos are led offensively by sophomore duo Brian Brown and Chad Goldberg. Brown has tallied a team-leading 12 assists in addition to six goals to notch a team-high 18 points, while Goldberg has recorded seven goals and eight assists (15 points) despite only appearing in 18 of 25 games. Six other Tuft's skaters have also posted double-digit point seasons.
Mason Pulde (7-5-4) has logged the majority of minutes in net for the Jumbos, registering two shutouts in 942:34 minutes in between the pipes while posting a .947 save percentage and 1.91 goals against average. Nik Nignes (3-4-2) has gotten the start in nine games for Tufts, allowing 20 goals in 534:58 minutes to register a .945 save percentage and 2.24 goals against average.
Tufts played the Bantams to two close games during the regular season, ultimately dropping both games, 3-2, after allowing the game-winning goal in the final period of action in both matchups.
2015-16 TALE OF THE TAPE
|No. 6 Amherst||No. 5 Middlebury||No. 8 Tufts||No. 2 Trinity|
|Goals Against Avg.||2.52||2.37||2.20||2.18|
2016 NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT
Quarterfinals – Saturday, February 27 (at Higher Seeds)
No. 8 Tufts def. No. 1 Williams, 2-1
No. 2 Trinity def. No. 7 Colby, 3-1
No. 6 Amherst def. No. 3 Bowdoin, 8-5
No. 5 Middlebury def. No. 4 Hamilton, 2-1 (OT)
Semifinals –Saturday, March 5 (at Trinity College)
No. 6 Amherst vs. No. 5 Middlebury - 1 p.m.
No. 8 Tufts at No. 2 Trinity - 4:30 p.m.
Championship – Sunday, March 6 (at Trinity College)