AMHERST, Mass. – Tallying three-or-more goals for the third straight game, a strong performance by the Class of 2020 that saw seniors contribute to all four scores kept the Mammoths in the win column as the Amherst College men's ice hockey team pushed past Tufts University, 4-2, Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink on Senior Day.
With the win, Amherst improves to 9-9-4 on the season and to 7-6-3 in league play, while Tufts drops to 7-14-1 overall (5-10-1 NESCAC).
Senior Patrick Daly started off his final regular season home game on a high note, logging the first goal of the battle 5:06 into the opening period to give Amherst a 1-0 lead. Forcing a turnover behind the Tufts net, Nick Bondra '21 set up the scoring play as poked the puck to Daly in the slot for the one-timer.
Getting it back with 13 minutes on the clock, Ross Delabruere capitalized on a drop pass from Mason Babbidge in Amherst territory as he rolled around the top of the right circle and powered a wrister through traffic and over the blocker of the Mammoths' netminder.
Adding another goal to the board before the horn, Amherst took a one-goal lead into the first intermission as another Mammoths' senior found the back of the net. Striking at the 1:52 mark off a perfectly executed 3-v-1 rush, Bondra drew the defender out of position and dished the puck to Greg Krisberg '20 in the high slot before the defenseman found P.J. Conlon '20 on the far right post for the redirect.
Pulling the sides back into a deadlock midway through the second stanza, Mason Babbidge potted his second short-handed goal of the winter for Tufts to set the score at 2-2. Applying pressure to the Mammoths' regroup in the neutral zone, Babbidge knocked the puck off the stick an Amherst defender to earn a breakaway before ripping a wrist shot into the top left corner.
Retaking the lead four minutes later, Matteo Mangiardi '21 used assists from Joey Lupo '20 and Sean Wrenn '22 to put the home team back on top. Utilizing the momentum of a power play chance and hitting nylon seven seconds after a Jumbos penalty expired, Lupo's shot on an odd-man rush deflected off a defender and to the stick of Mangiardi who was trailing the play for the put-back score.
Doubling the Mammoths' advantage to take the largest lead of the day 19 seconds into the third period, Lupo became the third Amherst senior to notch a goal as he made it a 4-2 contest. Getting his stick on the puck in a scrum to the right of the net, Mangiardi pushed a pass across the crease to Lupo for the open net tap in.
Standing as the final goal of the day, Giancarlo Ventre '20 racked up 14 saves through the rest of competition to hold the visitors scoreless in the frame and help extend the Mammoths unbeaten streak to 10 and lift Amherst to its third straight win, 4-2.
Propelled by a strong first period, the Mammoths owned a 34-28 edge in shots on target and finished 0-for-4 on the power play, while Tufts went 0-for-5 up a skater.
In between the pipes, Ventre (6-7-2) earned the win for Amherst behind a 26 save performance, while Drew Hotte (2-6-1) took the loss for the Jumbos – making 29 stops.
The Mammoths are back in action next Friday, Feb. 21 when they travel to Middlebury College for a 7:00PM conference bout to kick off the final weekend of the regular season.
Today's game marked Senior Day for the Mammoths who will graduate eight seniors following the 2019-2020 season, including: defender Mark Esposito, defender Noah Gilreath, defender A.J. Klein, forward and captain Joey Lupo, forward and captain P.J. Conlon, forward Patrick Daly, defender Greg Krisberg, and goalkeeper Giancarlo Ventre. As a class, this year's seniors have compiled an overall mark of 49-32-16 to own a .583 winning percentage, with a 34-21-15 record against NESCAC opponents and an impressive 30-8-8 ledger at home. During that time, the Mammoths have outscored opponents 258 to 209, ranked second in the nation in penalty killing percentage (2017-18), and have qualified for three consecutive NESCAC Championship tournaments, including a trip to the league finals in 2018-2019. Congratulations Seniors!