Men’s Hockey Loses for the First Time in Two Months
By Brian Smith '12, Staff Writer
Coming into the weekend, the Amherst men’s hockey team had been riding a 13-game unbeaten streak, rising in the national rankings and finding ways to win in a myriad of situations. Last weekend, the Lord Jeffs picked up two key wins against the Universities of New England and Southern Maine, winning 4-0 in each game. The Jeffs looked to ride this momentum into this past weekend, facing off against Bowdoin and Colby Colleges in two crucial matchups.

On Friday, Amherst took to the ice in Brunswick to play Bowdoin. The Jeffs and Polar Bears found themselves equalized in the first period, with each team taking several shots but missing on multiple scoring opportunities. After almost 15 minutes had passed in the second period, Eddie Effinger ’12 delivered a pass to Mark Colp ’12, who was able to find the back of the net for the Jeffs.

With a 1-0 lead in their favor, Amherst looked to hang on heading into the third period. But the Jeffs found themselves in a bit of a predicament later in the second period, obtaining two penalties and giving Bowdoin a 6-4 player advantage. Bowdoin was able to tie the game on the power play with three minutes left to play in the second period. The period came to a close in the same fashion as the first period, with both teams needing to address defensive breakdowns and execute on scoring opportunities.

After the intermission, each team found itself in desperate need of a goal, and it was Bowdoin who scored first. After only two minutes of play in the third period, the Polar Bears were able to push across the go-ahead goal. They took this momentum and continued to attack the Amherst defense, scoring two more goals in the third period. Although Joe Brock ’11 would later score for the Jeffs, it provided little help, as Amherst fell 2-4.

The following night showcased 15th-ranked Colby against the Lord Jeffs in Waterville in the second game of the Maine road trip. Amherst would quickly fall behind, as the Mules were able to score on the power play in the 12th minute of the first period. The period came to a close with the Jeffs down 0-1.

In the second period, the Jeffs were able to level the game at one goal apiece, as Brock was able to score with four minutes left to play in the period. Early in the third period, Brock was able to score once more, giving the Jeffs a 2-1 lead. Matthew Rhone ’11 and Jamie Hawkrigg ’13 assisted both of Brock’s goals. With only three minutes left in regulation, Colby was able to erase the Amherst lead with a goal that tied the game again. The final three minutes failed to produce a game-deciding goal, and thus game-play went into overtime.

In overtime, both the Jeffs and the Mules were able to accumulate multiple scoring opportunities, including a fast break for each team, and each chance was thwarted by the goalies. Cole Anderson ’11, who had faced nine shots on goal in the three previous periods, was able to save five shots in overtime. By the end of overtime, both teams were unable to score, and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

The past two games were certainly not freebies, and members of the team echoed this. “I believe that in the NESCAC/ECAC east schedule there is no such thing as an easy win,” said freshman goalie Nathan Corey. “While we have had some success I believe that we can continue to build and improve as we prepare for the rest of our schedule.”

Head Coach Jack Arena addressed the shakiness that was exhibited in the last two games. “We’d like to establish a level of performance that is closer to our potential and maintain it a little more consistently,” he said. “We’ll be focused on this weekend.”

This past weekend produced results that, in many ways, were unexpected. In each game, Amherst allowed a power play goal, which was abnormal for the best power play-killing team in the country. The weekend cost Amherst several spots in the national rankings, dropping them from No. 7 to No. 11. Regardless, the players are eager to come back to Amherst this weekend to take on New England College and St. Anselm College at Orr Rink on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m., respectively. Both games, which are conference games, will be on Live Webcast on the Amherst College website.

Issue 14, Submitted 2010-02-10 03:23:40