AMHERST, Mass. – Getting it done in all facets of the game, the Mammoths netted power play, short-handed and even strength scores and needed only five minutes to jump out to a 3-0 lead as the Amherst College men's ice hockey team opened the 2019-2020 season with a 5-2 victory over Hamilton College Saturday evening at Orr Rink.
With the win, Amherst opens up the winter with a 1-0-0 overall ledger and a 1-0-0 mark in league play, while Hamilton drops to 0-1-0 overall (0-1-0 NESCAC). The Mammoths are back at it again next Friday, Nov. 22 when they host No. 7 Trinity College in a 7PM conference battle.
Potting his first collegiate goal and the Mammoths' first score of the new season just 1:02 into play, first-year Joey Verkerke gave the home team a 1-0 edge with an assist from Patrick Daly '20. Winning the battle in a scrum in front of the net, Daly poked the puck back to Verkerke at the point who skated into a snap shot and hit the lower left corner.
Doubling Amherst's advantage at the 3:39 mark, Connor Merrill '23 joined Verkerke in logging his first career goal in his first game donning the Purple & White. Senior captain Joey Lupo set up the scoring play, as he carried the puck down the left side on a 3-v-3 rush and put a shot on target before Merrill cleaned up the rebound.
Extending the home team's early cushion 28 seconds later, Nick Bondra '21 notched what stood as the game-winner after the Mammoths won the struggle for the 50-50 puck in the corner - deflecting Pieter von Steinbergs '21 shot from the point into the nylon.
Taking a 4-0 lead into the first intermission, von Steinbergs added to Amherst's lead while short-handed at the 11:31 mark as he sniped a wrister from the right dot over the glove of the Continentals keeper and into the nearside top corner.
Striking once again midway through the second stanza to make it 5-0, P.J. Conlon '20 tallied what proved the be the Mammoths' final score of the contest as he put away Lupo's rebound on the power play.
Avoiding the shut out, the Continentals recorded two scores to make it 5-2 after 40 minutes, however neither side was able to add to the scoreboard in the third as Amherst clinched the victory.
Breaking through at the 9:31 mark, Sterling Bray looked to spark a momentum swing with an assist from Josh Labonte. Corralling his own rebound after a sprawling pad save on the far left post by the Mammoths' keeper, Bray sent his follow-up attempt over the goal line to set the score at 5-1.
The matchup's final goal came with 8:22 on the clock, as a tough angle shot off a 3-v-2 rush ended up on the stick of Nick Ursitti on the far side who made the most the opportunity.
Registering 16 saves in between the pipes for Amherst, Giancarlo Ventre '20 (1-0-0) earned the win, while Anthony Tirabassi (0-1-0) made 30 stops for Hamilton in the losing effort.
The Mammoths finished the night with a 35-18 edge in shots on goal, including a 17-7 edge in the opening period, and went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Continentals were unable to capitalize on seven power play chances.