Hartford, Conn. – Senior captain Ethan Holdaway (Glastonbury, Conn.) paced the Bantam offense with two goals as the Trinity College men's hockey team downed the Tufts University Jumbos, 4-1, in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Tournament Quarterfinals on Saturday, hosted by Trinity at the Koeppel Center. The win moves No. 3-seeded Trinity to 16-6-3 on the year as they advance to the tournament's semifinals next weekend at Hamilton while Tufts, the No. 6-seed in the tournament, ends its season with an 11-11-3 overall record.
Trinity dominated the Jumbos offensively, holding a 50-26 shot advantage on the afternoon. Bantam junior netminder Alex Morin (St. Hubert, Quebec) finished the day with 25 saves while his counterpart, Tufts junior goalie Nik Nugnes (West Barnstable, Mass.) ended the day with 46 stops.
Trinity wasted little time to get things going, scoring just over two minutes into the opening period to take an early 1-0 lead. Senior defenseman T.J. Sherman (Chesterfield, Mo.) sent a slapshot towards net from just inside the blue line which was re-directed off the stick of first-year Barclay Gammill (New Canaan, Conn.), past Nugnes, and into the back of the net. Tufts nearly scored the equalizer with 11:48 to play when rookie Tyler Scroggins (Allen, Texas) had the puck with open space near Morin's glove-side post. Scroggins sent a wrist shot on goal but Morin was un-phased, brushing the attempt aside and into the corner for the Bantams defense to collect. Tufts senior Patrick Lackey (Summit, N.J.) had an equally clean look at net with seven minutes left in the first period but Trinity defenseman Griffyn Martin (Southport, Conn.) made a great hustle play, sliding in front of Lackey's shot and blocking it, to keep the Jumbos off the scoreboard. Tufts finally broke through on a score by Conal Lynch (Charlestown, Mass.) who received a pass in front of the net from classmate and captain Mike Leary (Wakefield, Mass.) and flicked the puck past Morin with 4:43 to play. The Bantams responded just 19 seconds later thanks to senior captain Sean Orlando's (Ivyland, Pa.) 14th goal of the season to reclaim the one-goal lead. Junior Tyler Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.) slipped a pass to Orlando, who was camped at the far-side post, who then flicked the puck into the top shelf for the score.
The Bantams had the first power play chance of the game early in the second period after Tufts was called for hooking in its defensive zone. Nugnes was tested early in the two-minute Trinity advantage as Orlando and classmate Ryan Cole (Anchorage, Ak.) peppered the Jumbo netminder with back-to-back shots from point blank, however Nugnes held tough to keep it a 2-1 game. Lynch nearly scored his second goal of the game with just under eight minutes left, intercepting the puck near center ice and firing a shot towards Morin, but the puck sailed wide right of the net without incident. With 5:38 to play, Morin came up with a clutch save for the Bantams, snagging the puck out of mid-air, after Leary fired a wrister from near point-blank range. Trinity added to its lead with 2:11 remaining in the period thanks to a goal from Holdaway. Orlando won a faceoff in Tufts' zone which went straight to Whitney who fired a slapshot on net. Nugnes was there for the initial save but the rebound landed at the skates of Holdaway who took care of business and flipped the puck into the back of the net to give the Bantams a 3-1 lead at the end of the second period.
Both teams traded penalties in the first five minutes of the final period but each team's respective penalty kill unit did their job to keep one another off the scoreboard. Tufts pulled Nugnes with 2:03 to play to gain an extra attacker as they looked to try and chip away at the deficit, however Holdaway iced the game with his second goal of the afternoon, an empty-netter with 25 seconds left, as the Bantams came away with the 4-1 victory.