Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College men's ice hockey team, which defeated Plattsburgh State, 4-1, at home in the NCAA Division III Championship First Round over the weekend, will remain in Hartford for the quarterfinal round against the Endicott College Gulls on Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m. The Bantams, coached by Matt Greason (6th Season), are now 19-6-3 and will be playing in the NCAA Quarters for the fifth time and the second time in the last three seasons. The winner of Saturday's night game will advance to the NCAA Division III Semifinals in Utica, N.Y. on Friday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. against either Augsburg (Minn.) or St. Norbert, and the NCAA Championship Finals will be at the same site the next day.
Tickets for the Saturday's game will be $6 for adults, $4 for students, and $3 for children under 12. Trinity students will be admitted free of charge courtesy of the College's athletic department. Tickets wil be available on Saturday beginning at 6 p.m.
The Bantams, who won the NCAA Division III crown in 2015, are ranked No. 8 in the D3Hockey.com National Poll and tied for No. 9 in the United States College Hockey Online.com Division III National Poll. Trinity finished third in the NESCAC standings with a 11-5-2 conference mark before capturing its second consecutive conference crown with the road win against the Hamilton Continentals. Trinity previously reached the tournament in 2003, 2005 and 2008, and 2016, advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2005, and made a historic run through the 2015 tourney to capture the first NCAA crown in program history. That year, Trinity defeated Nichols, 4-2, and Plattsburgh State, 5-1, at home and Adrian, 5-3, and Wisc.-Stevens Point, 5-2, in the NCAA Frozen Four in Minneapolis.
Trinity sat at 3-3 on December 2 but closed the 2016 calendar year with a 3-0-1 mark that included a 4-4 at NCAA-bound Hobart and closed with a 2-1 win at NCAA-bound Adrian on New Year's Eve Day. The Bantams stumbled with a 2-2 start to the month of January, but have been one of the hottest teams in the country since then with a 11-1-2 record over its last 14 contests and nine wins in a row. Against Plattsburgh State, senior forwards Brandon Cole (Anchorage, Alaska) and Sean Orlando (Ivyland, Pa.) scored twice each, while junior forward Tyler Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.) assisted on two goals, and junior Alex Morin (St. Hubert, Quebec) made 26 saves in goal for the Bantams. Orlando gave Trinity a 2-0 lead with two goals in the first period and Cole answered the Cardinal goal with his first goal in the second period and completed the scoring with an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
Trinity owns the top scoring offense in the NESCAC, averaging 4.18 goals per game (11th in nation), as the Bantams boast four of the top-five point producers in the NESCAC, all of whom have accumulated at least 30 points this winter. Orlando has a team-high 17 goals (0.61 per game, 2nd in NESCAC) and adds 18 assists (0.64 per game, T8th in NESCAC) for a NESCAC-best 35 points, while Whitney has a team-high 22 assists (0.79 per game, 2nd in NESCAC) to go with 12 goals for 34 points (1.21 per game, 2nd in NESCAC). Junior forward Anthony Sabitsky (Sicklerville, N.J.) has 16 goals (0.57 per game, 3rd in NESCAC) with 15 helpers for 31 points (1.11 per game, T5th in NESCAC) and senior forward Ryan Cole (Anchorage, Alaska) has 31 points (1.11 per game, T5th in NESCAC) on 13 goals (0.46 per game, T9th in NESCAC), including six game-winners, and 18 assists (0.64 per game, T8th in NESCAC). Ryan Cole leads the nation with six game-winning goals, while Orlando and Whitney are tied for the NESCAC lead in power-play goals with six, followed by Sabitsky in sixth with five. First-year forward Barclay Gammill (New Canaan, Conn.) has been a welcomed offensive weapon with 16 points (5th-best in NESCAC among rookies) on nine goals and seven assists in 22 games. Sabitsky was named to the All-NESCAC First Team last week and Orlando graced the All-NESCAC Second Team.
Senior captain Sam Johnson (Dallas, Texas) and first-year Liam Feeney (Foxboro, Mass.), the fifth-most prolific scorer among defensemen and fourth-most prolific among rookies in the league with five goals and 15 assists, anchor the efficient Trinity blue line, as the Bantams own the second-best defense in the conference at 1.82 goals allowed per game (4th in nation). Senior T.J. Sherman (Chesterfield, Mo.) and juniors Connor Hegarty (Wakefield, Mass.) and Griffyn Martin (Southport, Conn.) have also played big roles on the Bantam back line that has held Trinity opponents scoreless on power plays 89 percent of the time (4th in nation). Morin ranks third in the league in goals against average at 1.77 (7th in nation) to go with 628 saves, a .932 save percentage (12th in nation), and three shutouts.
No. 7-ranked Endicott, coached by R.J. Tolan (2nd Season), is 24-3-2 after its 4-3 win at Hobart over the weekend. The Gulls, which lead the nation in scoring with 4.97 goals per game, secured an automatic bid into the tournament by defeating New England, 5-4, in the Commonwealth Coast Conference finals on March 4. Tom Besinger leads Endicott in scoring with 18 goals and 31 assists, while Cam Bleck has a team-high 21 goals and 19 assists, and Kevin Aldridge has 767 saves and a 2.02 in the Gulls' net. Saturday's meeting will be the first between the two programs. Endicott enters this weekend's NCAA Tournament second round matchup on a 12-game winning streak. During that span, the Gulls have outscored their opponents 71-24 (includes two shutouts). Endicott also sports a 10-1-2 record on the road this season.
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