AMHERST, Mass. – The visitors scored with one second left in regulation to force overtime and clinched the victory in extra minutes as the Amherst College men's hockey team suffered a heartbreaker to Hamilton College, 3-2 Friday evening at Orr Rink to snap a four game win streak.
With the setback, Amherst falls to 7-5-2 on the season and to 5-3-2 in league action, while Hamilton improves to 8-6-1 overall (6-3-1 NESCAC). Amherst returns to the ice tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 19 when they host non-conference foe Anna Maria beginning at 2 p.m.
Chad Varney used his speed to earn a solid scoring chance for the visitors three minutes into the contest as he raced past a defender down the left side, however Michael Cullen '21 stood strong in net and smothered Varney's quick wrist shot as he cut across the slot to keep the game scoreless.
Looking to break the deadlock 15 seconds into the second stanza, Sean Wrenn '22 ripped a shot on frame from the bottom of the right circle after forcing a turnover in the offensive zone, but his attempt rang off the near post.
Breaking through with 12:29 on the clock, Wrenn potted his fourth goal of the winter to put the Mammoths ahead, 1-0. One-timing a deflected puck from just below the right dot, Wrenn slid his shot over the pad of the Hamilton keeper and into the bottom right corner. Mitchell Shults '22 was credited with the assist on the play.
Trading chances in the opening minutes of the third period, Varney nearly evened the battle at the 17:22 mark, but his wrister on a 3-v-2 rush was met with a kick save and no one was able to clean up the rebound that bounced into the slot. Responding with an odd-player rush of their own two minutes later, P.J. Conlon '20 looked to double the home team's lead as he one-timed a shot from the far post, however Anthony Tirabassi was able to come across the crease in time to record the clutch stop.
Getting the Continentals on the board with 12:59 remaining in regulation, Andrew Court tallied his first career goal to tie the score at 1-1. Coming out to the high slot, Cullen successfully poke checked the puck away from a Hamilton forward and made a circus save on the first attempt by Court, however Court was able to convert on his own rebound into an empty net.
Retaking the lead four minutes later, Wrenn logged his second of the night as he gathered a dish from Stephen Rex '22 in the high slot and used a defender to shield the eyes of the keeper before ripping a wrist shot into the top left corner.
Battling until the clock hit zero, Nick Rutigliano played hero for Hamilton, sending a shot from the bottom of the left circle over the goal line with one second remaining to force overtime between the sides.
Capitalizing on a Mammoths boarding penalty in OT, Jason Brochu secured the improbable victory for the Continentals. Working the puck around the zone, Gagnon connected with Brochu at the top of the right circle who sent a laser of a wrister past the Amherst goalie to lift Hamilton to the 3-2 win.
In between the pipes, Cullen (5-2-1) registered 20 saves for Amherst in the losing effort, while Tirabassi (7-5-1) racked up 52 stops for Hamilton in the win.
The Mammoths owned a 54-23 edge in shots on target and finished 0-for-1 on the power play, while the Continentals finished 1-for-3 up a skater.