Courtesy of Trinity Sports Information
Hartford, Conn. – The top-seeded Trinity men's ice hockey team fell to visiting Tufts, 2-1, in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Tournament Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon on Williams Rink inside the Koeppel Community Sports Center. With the loss, the Bantams move to 21-3-1 on the year, while the Jumbos improve to 9-14-2 and advance to next weekend's conference semifinals.
Trinity will await the NCAA selection in early March to find out its post-season fate, while Tufts recorded their first-ever NESCAC Championship Tournament win. Entering the game, the Bantams were riding a seven-game winning streak.
Trailing by a goal, the Bantams turned it on firing 25 shots on goal in the final stanza. With under two minutes remaining in regulation, Tufts was whistled for a charging penalty. With the man-advantage, the Bantams pulled netminder Nathaniel Heilbron in favor of an extra skater. Down the stretch, Trinity had several chances on the doorstep, but Jumbo goaltender Mason Pulde stood his ground as he did all afternoon to help his team escape with the upset victory.
With the score tied at one in the third period, Tyler Voigt collected a loose puck in front of the net and potted his sixth marker of the year. With the puck deep in the Bantam zone, Trinity failed to clear and paid the price as Dominic Granato fired a shot that was saved by Heilbron and ended up on the uncontested stick of Voigt.
Tufts opened the scoring just over midway through the second period as Matt Pugh fired a shot from the left side of the ice that beat Heilbron low far side. Scott Majkowski played the puck up the ice nicely to Pugh to register the primary assist.
With less than a minute remaining in the second, the hosts knotted the game at one as Anthony Sabitsky buried a rebound for his ninth of the season with 53 seconds on the clock. Assistant captain Paul Burns started the play with a shot on goal from the point and Ryan Cole saw his rebound attempt stopped before Sabitsky found the back of the net. Burns recorded his eighth assist of the season on the play, while Cole picked up his 21st helper of the winter.
A scoreless first period saw each team have scoring chances. Just over a minute into the game, Trinity's Michael Hawkrigg came flying in on the right side and fired a shot from the circle that clanked off the crossbar. The best scoring opportunity for the Jumbos during the first 20 minutes came on the penalty kill as Stewart Bell came in on a breakaway and saw his backhand attempt turned aside by Heilbron.
For Trinity, Heilbron made 23 saves in a losing effort. On the opposite end, Pulde stopped 42 shots to earn the victory.
The Bantams held a 43-25 advantage in shots and went 0-for-5 on the power play. On special teams, the Jumbos failed to score on their only power-play opportunity.