The first semester is in the books for everyone and the final weekend showcased some great nonconference matchups, along with some final conference upsets that set the tone for what will surely be a great second half run across all conferences to the national tournament in March.
It is always tough to stop playing when you are going well, but for most teams, the break comes at a good time to heal up and rest up for the stretch run in the New Year.
Here is a quick summary on some of the key East action over the weekend.
Seven seconds is all that separated Nichols from a road win over MASCAC-leading Plymouth State, but Caleb O’Brien’s goal with just three seconds left in regulation tied the game at 1-1 before freshman Matt Volonnino won it for the host school in overtime with an unassisted goal. The Panthers outshot the Bison 42-25, but needed the end of game drama to overcome Alex Larson and Nichols by the 2-1 final.
Trinity closed out the first half with back-to-back games against Hobart and Elmira. Goals were at a premium in both games as the Bantams and Statesmen tied 1-1 on Friday night before Trinity rallied to an overtime win against Elmira on Saturday by a 2-1 score. Ryan Cole, with an assist from Ross Mandigo just 30-plus seconds into the extra session, won the game for Trinity. Goaltender Alex Morin picked up the win to go to 3-0-0 on the season.
Utica took down upset-minded Salve Regina by a 4-1 score that featured a first-period penalty shot goal by Joel Wetmore that initiated an amazing barrage of teddy bears being thrown on the ice by the Pioneer faithful (video feed can be found on social media) following the first goal of the game for the home team. Kyle Moore scored for the Seahawks with less than five minutes remaining in regulation to break up Michael Fredrick’s shutout bid in the final game of the semester for Utica.
Three points each from Jonathan Hahn and Connor Mauro led Franklin Pierce to a 5-4 upset win over Suffolk. The win was just the second of the season for Bruce Marshall’s Ravens, who scored two power-play goals to seal the win.
Salem State spotted the hosts from Endicott a first-period lead, but scored four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 win in the first meeting of the two schools that reside in neighboring towns. Hoping this is a backyard rivalry that will grow in the future.
Geneseo then spotted Nazareth a three-goal lead and then reeled off five goals of their own, including a hat trick from Trevor Hills, in a key nonconference victory for the nights. Hills has 11 goals in the first half for Geneseo.
Potsdam blew a two-goal lead against Johnson and Wales when Brett Kangas scored his first goal of the season to tie the game at 3-3 for the Wildcats. Dylan Vander Esch had other thoughts for the Bears as he completed his hat trick with the game-winning goal late in the third period in Potsdam’s 4-3 win.
The only conference in the final weekend playing league games saw the Panthers from Middlebury end the semester atop the conference standings posting a 3-3 tie with Hamilton and downing Amherst by a 2-0 score on the road on Saturday to enter the break unbeaten in conference play at 3-0-3.
Williams also dropped its first conference game when Jon Stickel scored for Hamilton early in the third period for the only goal of the game as Evan Buitenhuis made 42 saves to earn the 1-0 shutout for the Continentals.
Colby leveled their record at 3-3-1 with a tie against Tufts on Friday night by a 2-2 score before downing Connecticut College 3-2 on Saturday behind a goal and an assist from Mario Benicky.
Trevor Hills, Geneseo – The forward’s hat trick led a comeback win over Nazareth from the ECAC West to close out the semester for the Knights, who finished the semester with a five-game winning streak.
Dylan Vander Esch, Potsdam – The DVE show continued for the Bears, who needed all three of his goals on Saturday in a 4-3 win over Johnson and Wales from the ECAC Northeast. The game-winning goal was his second of the first half and his 12 goals represent 27 percent of the team’s 43 on the season.
Matt Volonnino, Plymouth State – The freshman forward scored an unassisted goal to down nationally-ranked Nichols on Thursday night before adding a goal and an assist in the Panthers’ 4-1 win over Castleton to close out the semester and extend their win streak to nine games.
WEST ROUNDUP – Brian Lester
St. John’s pulled off a big-time upset at home Saturday, blasting St. Scholastica 7-2. Seven players scored goals for the Johnnies, who improved to 4-7-2 with the win over the 15th-ranked Saints. St. John’s came into the game having scored only 12 goals. The seven goals in a game is the most since putting up seven against St. Olaf in November 2013. Tyler Fulton and Connor Kelly each tallied a goal and two assists, while Huba Sekesi came through with his fifth goal of the year and also dished out an assist. Zach Glienke finished with one goal and one assist as well, while Tyler Nelson earned his first career win racking up 25 saves. St. Scholastica did manage to beat Gustavus Adolphus on Friday, earning a 4-1 win. Steven Phee scored a goal and dished out two assists while Brandon Millin came through with a goal and an assist.
Behind two goals from Riley Christensen, top-ranked St. Norbert skated to a 4-1 win over St. Thomas in a huge nonconference showdown Saturday. The Green Knights head into the holiday break riding an 11-game unbeaten streak and are 10-0-1 on the season. Michael Hill and Roman Uchyn also scored goals for St. Norbert, which held a 34-24 advantage in shots. Michael Dockry scored the lone goal for the Tommies, who fell to 7-4-2. Joe Morris made 30 saves in goal for St. Thomas. The loss marked the first time all season St. Thomas has lost on its home ice … James Ring scored with 16.7 seconds left in regulation to lift the Milwaukee School of Engineering to a 3-2 road win over Wisconsin-Superior Friday. Superior led 2-0 before Omar Mullan and Brandon Unser scored to tie the game at 2-2. The Raiders finished off the series Saturday with a 4-2 victory, scoring twice in the final minutes of regulation to extend their win streak to four. The Raiders have won their last six games against University of Wisconsin state schools and all of them have come on the road. They are 7-3 on the season. Christian Elsborg, Jordan Guth, Mullan and Gage Christianson all scored for the Raiders. It’s been an interesting week for MSOE, which has scored four goals in the final minute of play. Ian Ecklund and Viktor Salhag scored for the Yellow Jackets, who fell to 3-8-2.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire picked up its eighth win of the season Saturday with a 4-2 win over Hamline. The No. 11 Blugolds broke a 2-2 tie in the third period on goals by Jesse Tredinnick and T.J. Stuntz. Adam Knochenmus scored his 15th goal of the year in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Garrett Clement assisted on that goal, pushing his assist total to 13 for the season. Patrick Moore also got credit for an assist. Tyler Green made big-time plays in the net, racking up 32 saves He improved to 5-2 on the season. Mitch McPherson scored both goals for the Pipers, who are now 4-6-3 on the season. Eau Claire is 8-3-2 … Wisconsin-Stout won a pair of games over the weekend, topping Concordia (Minn.) 3-1 before knocking off St. Olaf 5-3 on Saturday. Shayne McLaughlin scored twice for the Blue Devils and Joe Anderson came through with a goal and an assist. Tyler Cayemberg tallied two assists. Nick Schmit earned the win for the second night in a row. He racked up 22 saves. He is 2-0. Andy Jordahl, David Rath and Patrick Sivets all scored goals for the Oles, who trailed 3-0 early before cutting the gap to 4-3 in the third. The Blue Devils improved to 6-4-2 and the Oles fell to 2-8-3. Schmit started in goal for the first time on Friday and made 35 saves as Stout knocked off Concordia. Cayemberg, Austin Nelson and Karl Anderson all scored for the Blue Devils. Jon Grebosky scored for the Cobbers, who are 5-4-2.