HARTFORD, Conn. – Locked in a 3-3 stalemate with 8:08 remaining in regulation, a Lucas Michaud score with 3:01 to play put the home team ahead before an empty netter sealed the Bantams' win as the seventh-seeded Amherst College men's ice hockey team fell to second-seeded and national No. 8 Trinity College, 5-3, in a 2020 NESCAC Championships quarterfinal bout at Williams Rink in the Koeppel Community Sports Center Saturday afternoon.
With the postseason loss, the Mammoths close out the 2019-2020 season owning a 9-12-4 overall ledger, while Trinity improves to 18-6-1 on the year is advances to the conference semifinals.
Breaking opening scoring 11:31 into the contest, Taggart Corriveau netted his sixth of the season for the Bantams as he gloved down an attempted breakout pass and ripped a low snap shot from the left dot just inside the far post.
Pulling the sides into a 1-1 draw with 1:48 before the first intermission, senior Noah Gilreath got the Mammoths on the board following a great defensive play by Joey Lupo '20. Stripping the puck off the stick of a Trinity forward as four Bantams looked to rush out their defensive zone, Lupo set up an Amherst 2-v-0 before two quick passes between the duo gave the Trinity netminder no chance of stopping Gilreath's redirect at the top of the crease.
Responding 31 seconds later, Timothy Weinstein made sure the home team took a lead into the locker room at the break as he snuck James Callahan's dish on a 3-v-2 rush over the goal line from the bottom of the left circle to give the Bantams a 2-1 edge after 20 minutes of action.
Getting it back with 12:45 on the clock in the second stanza, a cross-checking penalty by Trinity proved to be costly as the Mammoths' 2019-2020 leading point-getter, Nick Bondra '21, pulled the teams back into a deadlock during the power play. Finding the puck in the slot after a shot from the point hit off his leg, Bondra sniped his attempt into the top left corner.
The score remained at two all well into the third period until Corriveau's second goal of the night once again put the Bantams ahead by one with 8:17 remaining. Winning the race to the puck behind the Mammoths' net, Poliziani found an open Corriveau who popped out of the left corner, cut across the zone and powered a wrister over the glove of the Amherst keeper.
Undeterred by what the home fans hoped to be a swing in the momentum, the Mammoths once again clawed back into the contest – this time needing only nine seconds to do so. Sending the puck on the ensuing faceoff deep into Bantams' territory, Pieter von Steinbergs '21 took advantage of the opportunity as he corralled a puck sent off the glass at the left point and drove a low snap shot inside the near post to set the score at 3-3 with 8:08 on the clock.
Moving the the length of the ice and controlling possession in the Mammoths' end, Lucas Michaud came through with the clutch goal for the home team and what stood as the game-winner at the 3:01 mark with a stellar assist from Barclay Gammill. Intercepting Michael Grande redirect from the high slot as he cut across the top of the crease, Gammill sent a no-look backhanded pass to Michaud on the opposite post for the score into a wide open net.
Looking to pot the equalizer late, Amherst tested Jonah Capriotti three times over the next two minutes but was unable to sneak one past before a faceoff win by the Bantams in their defensive end sealed the win as Jack McCarthy notched an empty net goal to lift Trinity to the 5-3 victory.
In frame, Ventre racked up 40 saves for Amherst in the loss – his second highest save total of the season only to his 43 stops against the Bantams on Nov. 22 –, while Capriotti turned away 19 shots for the Bantams to pick up the win.
Propelled by a 21 shot first stanza, Trinity owned a 45-22 advantage in shots on target and finished 0-for-2 on the power play, while Amherst went 1-for-3 up a skater.
The Mammoths close out the year as one of the top defensive teams in the nation, with Amherst allowing their opponents to score on only six of 96 total power play chances to boast Division III's top penalty killing percentage as of this evening (93.8%). Norwich is currently next on the list (93.0%) followed by Trinity (91.1%). Amherst also ranks inside the top-20 nationally in scoring defense as of today's battle – giving up just 2.36 goals per game this winter.