The consolation game of the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic involved two teams from the ECAC East, yet this was the first time Skidmore and Babson faced each other this season. The non-conference tilt was still played for pride, and Skidmore came out on top with a 5-2 win.
“We only have 25 games in a year, so we’re going to play every one to win regardless of who, where, when, or why we’re playing them,” Babson coach Jamie Rice said. “It’s a chance for us to play as a team, to be together, and compete, and that is all that matters.”
“We wanted to come out and get things rolling again and doing what we do well,” Skidmore coach Neil Sinclair said.
The pattern in this tournament was maintained in this game. Both semifinal contests yesterday saw the team scoring first eventually lose the game. It happened again today, as Babson got the initial score, only to succumb at the end.
The first period was scoreless, but it was not without action, very quick action. The period took just 23 minutes to play, three more than the game clock. The free-flowing, clean play resulted in very few whistles; at one point approximately 12-13 minutes went by without a stoppage. Just two penalties were called, one on each side, one icing, and no offsides.
Skidmore controlled most of the play territorially and with shots (13-1). Babson did have some good opportunities, including a near breakaway and a two-on-one, but their shots always managed to miss the net. Meanwhile, Skidmore’s shots almost always went on net, but Andrew Peabody stopped every one, making some difficult saves.
“We struggled a bit in our own end,” Rice said. “Credit Skidmore. They did a good job. That was the biggest difference in the game, their ability in our defensive zone to dominate the play.”
“I was a bit surprised,” Sinclair said of his team’s early domination. “I thought we had pretty good team speed. It was a battle.”
It didn’t take long for the ice to break in the second period, as the teams exchanged goals in the first 1:41, 33 seconds apart.
Babson opened the scoring on their second shot of the night when Jason Schneider was sent in alone with a feed from Alex DiPietro. Schneider went straight in, stuffing it through the five-hole. The puck barely crossed the line.
Skidmore got it right back when Tyler Doremus converted a pass from Brett Bandizian.
The Thoroughbreds took the 2-1 lead at 10:12 due to an unfortunate event for Babson. With Skidmore already on the power play, Babson’s defender Liam Chatterton went down with an injury. Unable to get up, and with the officials allowing play to continue, Skidmore now had effectively a five-on-three.
They swarmed around the Babson net, but Peabody kept making saves. However, Peabody was twice unable to cover the puck when it was right in front of him. Eventually, Hunter Thayer scooped up the rebound to the right of Peabody and flipped it into the unguarded near side.
Skidmore got what proved to be the clinching goal at 3:07 of the final period. Anthony Ferri, from a bad angle to the right of the net, somehow was able to put it past Peabody to make it 3-1.
The teams exchanged goals 28 seconds apart on similar shots. First, Skidmore’s Doremus put a soft high shot from the left faceoff circle on net that somehow fooled Peabody for his second of the night. Then, Babson’s Dan Ahern placed a soft high shot from the middle of the blue line that somehow fooled Andrew Ross.
The game ended the way it started, with Skidmore swarming the Babson net. The Thoroughbreds were playing like they needed the comeback instead of the other way around. Even a time out by Babson and pulling the goalie didn’t make any difference. Seconds after those moves, Mike Gibbons scored an empty netter to close out the game.
In the battle of the Andrews, Babson’s Andrew Peabody made 42 saves while Skidmore’s Andrew Ross got the win with 24 saves.
“He played well,” Rice said of his goaltender. “Andrew did a good job. He’s had a good season so far.”
“We’ve been getting pretty good goaltending through the first part of the season,” Sinclair said. “Andrew gave us another one.”
This game may have been a non-conference match up between two conference foes, but now both teams resume real conference play this upcoming week. Babson (3-5-1) returns home to host Hamilton on Friday. Skidmore (5-3-0) stays on the road traveling to Castleton on Tuesday.