No. 3 Mammoths Shut Out No. 6 Colby, Advance to NESCAC Semifinals

No. 3 Mammoths Shut Out No. 6 Colby, Advance to NESCAC Semifinals

AMHERST, Mass. – A four-goal first period that featured two power play scores set the tone as the third-seeded Amherst College men's hockey team shut out reigning league champions and sixth-seeded Colby College, 4-0 Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink. 

With the win, Amherst improves to 14-6-4 on the season, while Colby closes out 2018-19 with a 10-10-5 overall ledger. Amherst returns to action next weekend, Saturday, March 2 when they battle No. 2 seed Wesleyan University at 1 p.m. in the NESCAC Semifinals at top-seeded Trinity College. 

Jumping out to a 1-0 lead 2:35 into the matchup, P.J. Conlon netted his sixth goal of the winter to put the home team out in front. Phil Johansson '19 set up the scoring play, ripping a shot from the point that was deflected to Conlon on the right post for the putback score.

Striking once again just over two minutes later, Noah Gilreath '20 doubled the Mammoths lead following interference and boarding calls against the Mules. Walking out from behind the net while on the 5-on-3, Conlon dished a pass to Gilreath on the right hash who powered a one-timer past the outstretched keeper.

Continuing to dominate momentum in the first period, Nick Bondra '21 tallied Amherst's third goal in the opening 10 minutes with an assist from Johansson. Blocking a shot in the defensive zone, Johansson hit Bondra coming out of the box at mid-ice for the breakaway before Bondra sniped a wrister over the glove of the Colby netminder. 

Capitalizing on their second 5-on-3 power play of the stanza, Pieter von Steinbergs '21 gave the Mammoths a 4-0 cushion at the 12:31 mark as he blasted a one-timer from the right dot into the nylon. Jack Fitzgerald '19 and Joey Lupo '20 were credited with the assists on the play. 

The visitors best chance of the opening period came with 6:30 on the clock as John Rourke earned a clear path towards net down the left boards, however his wrist shot from the slot sailed inches wide on frame. 

Adding a short-handed score five minutes into the second period, Lupo pushed the Mammoths advantage to 5-0 as he beat the Colby goalkeeper to a puck that was dumped into the right corner and sent a shot into an open net. 

Rourke had another golden chance to get the Mules on the board at the 8:40 mark in the third stanza as he intercepted a cross ice pass at the offensive blue line and rifled a wrister from the high slot on target, but the attempt was met with a left pad save.

In between the pipes, Michael Cullen '21 (8-3-1) registered 16 saves for Amherst in the winning effort, while Andrew Tucci (9-8-4) made 26 stops for Colby in the loss. 

The Mammoths owned a 31-16 edge in shots on target and finished 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Mules went 0-for-6 up a skater.