AMHERST, Mass. – Amherst College goalie Cody Tranbarger '17 made 17 saves and Chris Albanese '17 netted three goals, but Tufts University held a 9-1 advantage at halftime as the second-seeded Jumbos bested the top-seeded Jeffs in Sunday's 2015 NESCAC Championship title game at Pratt Field.
Tufts (16-2) earned its sixth consecutive league title following Sunday's win, and secured the NESCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Amherst (16-2) awaits an at-large selection to the NCAA postseason marking the program's third appearance in the national tournament. The NCAA selection show will take place at 9 p.m. tonight.
Tufts' John Uppgren totaled five points on the strength of four goals and one assist, while Peter Gill added three markers to help fuel the Jumbos' offensive effort. Alex Salazar made 18 saves to seal the win between the pipes, including a seven-save effort in the second quarter.
Amherst received three-goals from Albanese, while Quinn Moroney '16 finished with two helpers to lead the Jeffs. Tranbarger made six of his 17 saves in the third stanza in the losing effort.
Tufts raced out to an early 4-0 lead as Ben Andreycak netted the game's first goal at the 11:48 mark, before Uppgren notched his first on a feed from Cem Kalkavan just 20seconds later. Peter Gill and Cole Bailey then tabbed back-to-back scores at the 6:54 and 6:25 marks to give the Jumbos a 4-0 lead.
With 5:42 to play in the first quarter, Moroney found Albanese for his first of the game to halt the Tufts run. A goal by Pete Gill less than a minute later gave the Tufts a 5-1 lead after 15 minutes of play.
In the second stanza, the Jumbos began to pull away, scoring four straight goals to stake a 9-1 lead at intermission. Peter Gill and Uppgren both scored on passes from Austin Carbone with Uppgren's goal coming on the man-advantage. Andreycak and CJ Higgins added the final two goals of the period with Chris Sawyer assisting on Higgins' score.
After Garrett Clarke scored to make it 10-1 at the 10:42 mark of the third quarter, Amherst responded with a marker by Max Keeley '18 who capitalized on a beautiful pass from Charlie Gill '16 to pull the Jeffs back to within eight at 10-2. Uppgren then struck for an unassisted goal, and provided the assist on Clarke's second strike of the stanza to set the score at 12-2 after three quarters of action.
Sawyer scored a man-down goal early in the fourth stanza, and Carbone added an extra-man goal following a dish from Connor Bilby to extend the Jumbos' lead to 14-2. With just under eight minutes to play in the contest, Rob Butko '16 advanced the ball from his defensive zone to the Purple & White's attacking zone and delivered a fantastic pass to Albanese who ripped a shot into the nylon for his second goal of the game to make it 14-3. Tufts added two more goals when Kyle Howard-Johnson scored on a pass from Clarke, before Uppgren notched his final tally with 2:42 on the clock. Moroney then found Albanese on the extra-man opportunity with 1:22 to play as Albanese's third goal set the final score at 16-4.
Conor Helfrich was 17-for-21 from the faceoff dot and picked up a game-high 13 ground balls. Salazar, Carbone, Tyler Olney, and Bailey chipped in three ground balls each in the winning effort.
Moroney led Amherst with six ground ball pickups, while Kane Haffey '16 and Connor Crump '16 followed with four ground balls each. Kevin Curry '15, Matt Virgilio '15 and Ryan Cassidy '16 each caused a pair of opponent turnovers for the Jeffs.