HADLEY, Mass. – For the second time in three years, only one of the top four teams advanced through to the semifinals in the NESCAC Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. The top-seeded Trinity Bantams will host the remaining rounds of the tournament for the second time since 2016. No. 6 Colby takes on No. 5 Wesleyan in the first semifinal at 1 p.m., while No. 1 Trinity hosts No. 7 Williams at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. The semifinal winners will square off at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $6 for adults and $3 for students/senior citizens/children. Children under two-years-old are free. Please also note no dogs will be allowed inside the athletic facility or rink.
Both semifinal games, as well as the championship game, will be streamed online via the Northeast Sports Network (NSN) at NESCAC.com. The games will also be available on the following digital apps - Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV (search for NESCAC).
Trinity (18-5-2) is the two-time defending NESCAC Champion and the No. 1 seed for the second time in four years. The Bantams used a pair of third-period goals to earn a 2-0 victory over No. 8 Tufts and move onto the semifinals for the third straight season. The Bantams have scored a league-best 81 goals this season and is also one of the top defensive teams in the NESCAC, allowing 42 tallies this year. Senior Anthony Sabitsky (Sicklerville, N.J.) paces the Trinity offense with 22 points on 10 goals and 12 assists. He has scored five power-play tallies and owns three-game winners. Sophomore Liam Feeney (Foxboro, Mass.) is one of the top scoring defensemen in the conference. He has 20 points in 25 games from the blue line. Senior Alex Morin (St. Hubert, Quebec) is Trinity’s top goaltender, playing nearly every minute in net for the Bantams. He owns a 1.75 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.
The Bantams, who own four NESCAC titles, will meet Williams (14-10-1) in a rematch of last year’s semifinal. The Ephs are playing in their seventh semifinal game in the last nine years. Williams advanced out of the quarterfinal round with a 4-2 victory at No. 2 Connecticut College. The Ephs scored three times in the second period and held on for the win. Williams is tied for the lead in the NESCAC in power-play goals with 19 this season. Junior Roberto Cellini (Montreal, Quebec) leads the Ephs in scoring with 23 points (7-16-23) and senior C.J. Shugart (Toronto, Ontario) has scored 14 goals (14-6-20) to rank second in the league in goals. In net, junior Michael Pinios (Laval, Quebec) and senior Stephen Morrissey (Arlington, Va.) have split the goaltending duties. Pinos carries a 2.65 goals against average and .910 save percentage, while Morrissey has a 2.31 goals against average and .922 save percentage.
Trinity and Williams have met five times in the NESCAC Championship series. The Bantams own a 3-2 advantage over the Ephs, including a 4-2 victory in last year’s semifinal contest. The two teams split the regular-season series. Williams won 5-1 on its home ice on January 6, while Trinity posted a 4-3 victory in Hartford, Connecticut on February 2.
The other semifinal contest will feature Wesleyan (13-7-5) versus Colby (13-10-2). Wesleyan earned the program’s highest seed since 2007 and is in the semifinals for the second consecutive season. Junior Andy Espinoza (Abington, Pa.) broke a 1-1 tie with a goal at the 18:14 mark of the third period to lift the Cardinals past No. 4 Hamilton for their third-ever playoff victory. Senior Dylan Holze (Lynbrook, N.Y.) (16-10-26) and sophomore Tyler Wyatt (Bridgeton, N.J.) (9-16-25) rank 1-2 in scoring in the NESCAC. Wyatt is also tied for the league lead in assists (16) this season. Sophomore Tim Sestak (Darien, Conn.) has played the majority of minutes in net for the Cardinals and carries a .933 save percentage and 2.06 goals against average into the weekend.
No. 6 Colby scored five unanswered goals over the final two periods to defeat No. 3 Amherst, 5-1, and advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2011. The Mules are one of the top scoring teams in the NESCAC, averaging 3.32 goals per game and totaling 83 goals this season. Sophomore Kienan Scott (Spokane, Wash.) (8-15-23) and senior Phil Klitirinos (Montreal, Quebec) (7-16-23) are the leading scorers for Colby with 23 points each and both are tied for third in the NESCAC in scoring. Senior Sean Lawrence (Granite Bay, Calif.) owns the third-best save percentage in the league (.936) and a 2.16 goals against average.
Colby is 2-1 against Wesleyan in the NESCAC Championship series. The two teams last met in the 2017 NESCAC Quarterfinals with the Cardinals coming away with a 5-4 win. During the regular season, Wesleyan posted a 5-1 victory over the Mules in Middletown, Connecticut on January 13 and the two teams skated to a 3-3 tie in Waterville, Maine on February 11.
Results for the NESCAC Men’s Ice Hockey Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.