Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College men's ice hockey team, which shut out Tufts, 2-0, over the weekend in the quarterfinal round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Men's Ice Hockey Championship Tournament, will take the next step toward a third-consecutive league title when the Bantams face Williams in the NESCAC Semifinals on Saturday, March 3 at 4:30 p.m. at Williams Rink in the Koeppel Community Sports Center. Top-seeded Trinity (18-5-2), will host the NESCAC Semifinals and Finals for the fourth time this weekend, and will play the No. 7-seeded Ephs (14-10-1), who won at Connecticut College, 4-2, in their quarterfinal game. The other semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday features the No. 6-seeded Colby College Mules (13-10-2) and the No. 5-seeded Wesleyan University Cardinals (13-7-5), and the NESCAC Finals will be Sunday, March 4 at 2 p.m.. Tickets will be $6 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and children under 12. All Trinity students will be admitted free with college ID courtesy of the Trinity Athletic Department. The winner of the NESCAC Championship Tournament will determine the league's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
First-year forward Nicholas Polsinelli (Galloway, N.J.) broke a scoreless tie with a goal five minutes into the third period to lead the Bantams over Tufts. Polsinelli backhanded in a rebound off a shot by sophomore defenseman Nick Fiorentino (Hartsdale, N.Y.) with sophomore forward Adam Anderson (Hugo, Minn.) also providing an assist. The Bantam defense held Tufts to just three shots and killed off a penalty in the final period , while senior captain forward Anthony Sabitsky (Sicklerville, N.J.) stole the puck from the Jumbo defense and scored an insurance goal with 17 seconds on the clock. Trinity senior goaltender Alex Morin (St. Hubert, Quebec) finished with 13 saves to earn his fourth shutout of the year. The Bantams are currently ranked No. 6 in the NCAA Northeast Region, No. 4 in the D3Hockey.com National Poll, and No. 6 in the United States College Hockey Online.com Division III National Poll.
The Trinity defense, led by senior captains Connor Hegarty (Wakefield, Mass.) and Griffyn Martin (Southport, Conn.), is tied for the NESCAC lead with 1.68 goals allowed per game (3rd in nation). The Bantams have been whistled for the second-most penalty minutes in the league with 11.9 per game, but are also third killing penalties with opponents scoring just 12.3 percent of the time on power plays (10th in nation). Sophomore defenseman Liam Feeney (Foxboro, Mass.) is the most prolific offensive blue liner in the NESCAC with 20 points (4g, 16a), while James Callahan (Gladstone, N.J.) is third among defenseman and rookies at any position with 16 points (2g, 14a). Senior goaltender Alex Morin (St. Hubert, Quebec) ranks second in the league in GAA at 1.75 (6th in nation) to go with 530 saves and a .930 save percentage (10th in nation).
The Bantams also rank second in the conference scoring offense at 3.24 goals per game. Feeney is tied for second in the league lead in assists with 0.64 per game, while sophomore forward Barclay Gammill (New Canaan, Conn.) is tied for ninth in 0.42 per game (10), and Sabitsky is tied for 10th in scoring with 0.88 ppg (10g, 12a) 21 points. Sabitsky is also tied for third in the conference in power-play goals with 0.20 pr game (5) and tied for third in game-winners with three. First-year forward Dylan Healey (Goshen, N.Y.), the seventh-leading scorer among NESCAC rookies with 0.56 ppg (7g, 7a), is also second in the conference in game-winning goals with four. Senior forward Tyler Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.) and first-year forward Eric Benshadle (Getzville, N.Y.) have both also tallied over 10 points this winter, as Trinity's balanced offense boasts eight players in double digits in scoring. Feeney was selected as a semifinalist for the Concanon Award as the best American-born Division II/III player in New England, and joined Sabitsky on the All-NESCAC First Team.
Williams College, coached on an interim basis by Michael Monti, is playing in its seventh semifinal game in the last nine years. 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. The Trinity game against Williams is a re-match of last year's semifinal at Hamilton won, 4-2 , by the Bantams. The teams have met five times in the NESCAC Tournament, and Trinity has won three times. This year, Williams defeated Trinity, 5-1, at home on January 6, and the Bantams earned a 4-3 victory in Hartford on Ground Hog Day.