UTICA, N.Y. – Down 5-3 with under five minutes to play, the Purple & White tallied three unanswered goals, including the game-winner with 58 seconds remaining in overtime, as the Amherst College men's ice hockey team posted a 6-5 victory over non-conference opponent and No. 5/4 Utica College Saturday evening at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
With the win, Amherst improves to 2-0-1 on the season, while Utica falls to 8-2-0. Amherst returns to action tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 27 when they host Babson College at Orr Rink for a 5 p.m. non-conference matchup.
First on the scoreboard, Amherst took a 1-0 lead 6:25 into the opening period. Gathering the puck at the left point, Noah Gilreath '20 ripped a slap shot on net that was deflected into the slot area. Finding the loose puck, John Festa '19 sent a shot towards goal that was tipped into the nylon Stanley Brenner '19 for his first score of the season.
The Pioneers responded less than three minutes later as Roman Ammirato knotted the game at 1-1 at the 9:15 mark. Getting behind the Amherst defense and corralling a long pass from Vince Stefan at their offense blue line to earn a breakaway, Ammirato deked to his backhand a slid the puck between the legs of the Purple & White netminder.
Reclaiming the lead with 17 seconds remaining in the first period, first-year Greg Krisberg notched his first collegiate goal on the power play to give Amherst a 2-1 edge. Following D-to-D pass from P.J. Conlon '20 to Phil Johansson '19, Johansson powered a slap shot towards goal that was tipped by Krisberg past Pioneers goalkeeper Henry Dill.
Evening the score at 2-2 midway through the second period, Kevin Valenti once again capitalized on a breakaway opportunity for Utica. Collecting a pass from Brett Szajner on the offensive blue line, Valenti juked to his backhand before sending a shot over the pad of the Amherst keeper.
Amherst took its third lead of the game at the 11:44 mark, with Patrick Daly '20 finding the back of the net for the third consecutive game. Winning a 50-50 battle in the left corner, Patrick Mooney '18 dished a pass to Daly in the high slot who rifled a wrist shot over the glove of Dill and into the top corner of the net.
The teams headed into intermission in a 3-3 tie following a power play goal by Hayden Dawes with 6:07 remaining in the second period, as he buried the rebound after an initial pad save on a 3-on-2.
Starting the third period strong, Utica held a two-goal lead with under five minutes to play in regulation.
Down a skater, Valenti tallied his second score of the game to give the Pioneers their first lead of the matchup at the 6:50 mark, before Brett Szajner added an insurance goal to make it a 5-3 contest with just 6:44 remaining in the third.
Undeterred, Amherst battled back to score two goals in less than a minute span to even the game at 5-5 and force an overtime period.
On the power play after a hooking call against Pioneer Alex Brissette, Conlon decreased the Purple & White's deficit to one. Collecting a pass from David White '18 at the top of the right circle, Conlon tucked a low wrist shot inside the near post with 3:41 to play.
Utilizing the momentum, Amherst logged the final goal of regulation to deadlock the game at 5-5 39 seconds later. Gathering a short pass from Krisberg and driving a low shot on goal from the right point through traffic, Will Vosejpka '18 beat the Utica netminder who never got his eyes on the puck.
Clinching the win with 58 seconds remaining in overtime, Gilreath's first collegiate goal proved to be a memorable one as he entered the offensive zone a blasted a low shot from the top of the right circle over the pad of Dill to tally the game-winner and give Amherst the 6-5 victory.
- In goal, Adam Ellison '17 (1-0-0) recorded 25 stops to earn the win for the Purple & White, while Dill (4-1-0) made 26 saves for the Pioneers in the losing effort.
- Amherst owned a 32-30 edge in shot differential in the matchup.
- Amherst finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while Utica went 1-for-6 up a skater.
- Joey Lupo '20 led the Purple & White in faceoffs won with 11, while Thomas Lindstrom '18 earned 10 faceoff wins.
- Will Vosejpka '18 and Chris Roll '17 each put five shots on target to lead Amherst, while Daly and Conlon took four shots apiece.
- Mikhail Bishinkski and Roman Ammirato led the Pioneers offense with four shots each, while four other Utica skaters each took three shots.