AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College men's hockey team scored in all three stanzas to power past Middlebury College, 4-1 in their regular season finale Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink on Senior Day.
With the win, Amherst improves to 13-6-4 on the season and to 10-4-4 in league play, while Middlebury falls to 8-12-4 overall (5-9-4 NESCAC). Amherst returns to action next Saturday, February 23 when they faceoff in the NESCAC Championship Quarterfinals. Opponent and location of next weekend's matchup is yet to be determined.
Grabbing the lead with 12:08 on the clock in the opening period, Joey Lupo '20 netted his team-leading ninth goal of the winter to put the home team ahead, 1-0. Walking out of the right corner after Jack Fitzgerald '19 forced a turnover, Lupo's first shot was stonewalled by the Panthers' keeper, however he was able to corral his own rebound and send a follow-up shot into the bottom left corner.
Middlebury's best chance of the first came at the 12:10 mark, as Matt Danner pulled the puck out of a scrum in front of the net and powered a wrister on target from the high slot, but Giancarlo Ventre '20 stood strong to come up with an athletic left pad save.
Upping the tempo three minutes into the second stanza, Charlie Parsons had a solid chance for the visitors, nearly putting away a one-timer from the far post, but Ventre came up with the clutch stop to hold the Amherst lead.
Doubling the Mammoths' advantage with 4:49 to play before the second intermission, Sean Wrenn '22 made it a 2-0 game with assists from Max Roche '19 and Noah Gilreath '19. Rolling out of the left corner, Wrenn shot through traffic deflected off a defender and into the nylon.
Extending the home team's cushion to 3-0 4:09 into the third period, Lupo added a power play score with help from Jack Lloyd '21 and Pieter von Steinberg '21. Cutting across the top of the zone, Lupo faked a slapper before ripping a wrist shot from the left dot over the blocker of the Panthers' netminder.
Getting on the board midway through the final stanza, Middlebury avoided the shut out behind a score from Charlie Parsons. Setting up the scoring play, Alex Heinritz's slap shot from the right point was met with a save, but Heinritz was there to put home the rebound and push the score to 3-1 in favor of the Mammoths.
The Panthers pulled their keeper in the final minutes in a bid to even the game late, however P.J. Conlon '20 countered with an empty net score to lift Amherst to the 4-1 victory.
In between the pipes Ventre (6-3-3) registered 37 saves in the winning effort for Amherst, while Adam Wisco (4-5-2) made 32 stops for Middlebury in the loss.
The Panthers owned a slight 38-36 edge in shots on target and finished 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Mammoths went 1-for-3 up a skater.
Today's game marked Senior Day for the Mammoths who will graduate eight seniors following the 2018-19 season, including: defender and captain Phil Johansson, forward Steven Mallory, forward and captain Jack Fitzgerald, forward John Festa, forward Stanley Brenner, forward Max Roche, defender Nicholas Faturos, and goalkeeper Alex Einarsson. As a class, this year's seniors compiled an overall mark of 48-34-16 to own a .571 winning percentage, with a 33-23-15 record against NESCAC opponents and an impressive 29-6-8 ledger at home. During that time, the Mammoths have outscored opponents 262 to 228, ranked second in the nation in penalty killing percentage (2017-18), and has qualified for three consecutive NESCAC Championship tournaments, including a trip to the league finals in 2016-2015. Congratulations Seniors!