NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 6 Colby 5, No. 3 Amherst 1

NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 6 Colby 5, No. 3 Amherst 1

Courtesy of Colby Sports Information

AMHERST, Mass. - The Colby College men's hockey team exploded for five unanswered goals and will play in the New England Small College Athletic Conference Final Four after a 5-1 road win at third-seeded Amherst College on Saturday at Orr Rink.

After a wild day of NESCAC hockey, the sixth-seeded Mules (13-10-2 overall) will play No. 5 Wesleyan next Saturday at Trinity College in a semifinal game. Colby fell to Wesleyan in last year's NESCAC quarterfinal round at Alfond Rink. 
 
Three of the four lower seeds won quarterfinal games. Williams, the seventh seed, took a 4-2 win over second-seeded Connecticut College. Wesleyan was a 2-1 winner against fourth-seeded Hamilton, while top-seeded Trinity won 2-0 over No. 8 Tufts.
 
Colby advances to the NESCAC Final Four for the eighth time since the league started a playoff system for the 2000-2001 season. However, the Mules have never advanced to the title game. Colby's last appearance in a semifinal game came in 2011.
 
Game highlights
  • Colby scored three times in the second period after Amherst led 1-0 after the first intermission. Mario Benicky scored the first of his two goals on a wrist shot just 1:57 into the second period. Phil Klitirinos and Spencer Hewson had assists on the score.
  • With the momentum of that key goal, Michael Rudolf scored the game-winning goal after winning a face-off. His shot from the left dot went between the legs of Amherst goalkeeper Connor Girard at 6:18 of the second. 
  • The Mules picked up the big third goal on Benicky's breakaway goal. He is wrister over Girard's glove came with 5:54 left in the period.
  • An Amherst miscue on its own blue line led to a breakaway goal by Klitirinos with 7:48 left in the game. 
  • Justin Grillo scored an empty net goal off an assist from Thomas Stahlhuth with 1:29 to play to make it 5-1. Colby fell 5-1 to the Mammoths in the regular season game at Amherst, but took a 4-1 victory at Alfond Rink to split the season series.
 
By the numbers
  • Colby goalie Sean Lawrence came ready to play and finished with 36 saves. He made 19 saves in the final period.
  • The Mammoths had a 37-24 advantage in shots.