Hartford, Conn. – The Trinity College men's ice hockey team finished first in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) during the regular season to earn the top-seed in the conference tournament where they ultimately fell to Colby College in the championship game to end their season with a 19-6-2 overall record and dominant, 14-3-1 mark in NESCAC action. The Bantams, under the helm of Head Coach Matt Greason (7th season), were the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC Championship Tournament for the fourth time and the second time in the last four years, and finished the season as the No. 6 team in the Northeast region, but did not receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament after reaching the national championship last season.
Trinity defended its home ice at the Koeppel Center well this winter, finishing with a 13-4-1 record in front of the Bantam faithful. The team also went 6-2-1 on the road and finished second in the NESCAC in scoring offense (3.22 gpg), scoring defense (1.78 GAA, 4th in nation) and third on the penalty kill (.881). The season saw three major win-streaks of six, nine and three games, respectively, as the Bantams won four of their final six games on the year. Trinity finished the season outscoring its opponents, 87-48.
Trinity came out of the gates hot to start the year, rattling off six consecutive victories to begin the season. During that stretch, the team outscored its opponents by a staggering, 25-3 margin. The streak came to an end with a 3-3 tie against Amherst on December 3rd before the squad went 0-1-1 in a series with top-ten ranked Hobart to close out the calendar year.
After a pair of losses to start 2018, the Bantams responded in a major way, going on a nine-game tear that lasted almost a full month. A 3-0 victory over Middlebury on January 7th started the run as Trinity's offense put up 36 goals during the nine-game span. The Bantams went 2-2 to finish the regular season but capped it with a 3-1 victory over in-state rivel Wesleyan on February 17th to give the team some momentum heading into the NESCAC Tournament.
In the quarterfinals, Trinity put away the Tufts University Jumbos, 2-0, thanks to scores off the sticks of first-year forward Nicholas Polsinelli (Galloway, N.J.) and senior forward and captain, Anthony Sabitsky (Sicklerville, N.J.). Senior goalie Alex Morin (St. Hubert, Quebec) continued his strong play between the pipes, finishing with 13 saves to earn his fourth shutout of the year and lead the charge into the tournament semifinals.
After a shaky start in the semifinals against Williams, the Bantams took an early, two-goal deficit and scored five unanswered to come away with the 5-2 victory. Junior forward Ryan Pfeffer (Canton, Mass.) scored the first two goals to tie things and propel the team into their seventh NESCAC title game. That's where the Bantams ultimately ended their season, with a 4-1 loss to Colby, who reached the NCAA Tournament Semifinals this season. Trinity first-year defenseman Michael Grande (Des Plaines, Ill.) scored to cut into a 2-0 Mule lead, but the visitors came back with two more goals to put the game away in the third period.
A pair of Bantams earned post-season accolades after strong seasons on the ice. Sophomore defenseman Liam Feeney (Foxboro, Mass.) was named to 2017-18 All-NESCAC First Team, as was Sabitsky. Feeney, a United States College Hockey Online (USCHO.com) Division III Men's Ice Hockey National All-Rookie honoree in 2016-17, was the most prolific offensive blue liner in the NESCAC with 22 points on four goals and a team-high 18 assists. He was also selected as a semifinalist for the 2017-18 Concanon Award as the best American-born Division II/III player in New England. Sabitsky was the only member of this year's All-NESCAC First Team to be named all-league multiple times. Sabitsky finished his season with a team-high 23 points (10th in NESCAC in scoring) on 10 goals (tied for team lead) and 13 assists (2nd on team). Three of Sabitsky's 10 tallies were game-winning goals and five came on power plays, ranking him third in the NESCAC in each category. In his fine career, Sabitsky scored 50 goals and assisted on 57 others for 107 career points in 115 games.
Sophomore Barclay Gammill (New Canaan, Conn.) had a breakout year, finishing tied for third on the team with 19 points on 10 goals (T9th in NESCAC) and nine assists. Gammill tied with senior forward Tyler Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.) in scoring as Whitney potted seven goals and had 12 assists on the year. Whitney finishes his career with 104 total points as he and Sabitsky both eclipsed the 100-point plateau this season, becoming the fifth and sixth Bantams in the last four seasons to do so. Pfeffer was Trinity's third double-digit goal scorer with ten, while the Bantams rookie class made an immediate impact this winter, setting the team up nicely to contend for the national championship for years to come. First-years James Callahan (Gladstone, N.J.), Dylan Healey (Goshen, N.Y.) and Eric Benshadle (Getzville, N.Y.) each tallied double-digit points this season as Callahan finished among the league's top skaters in assists with 14. Morin finishes his career among Trinity's all-time leaders in total minutes (4527:34), saves (1830), goals against average (1.75, 1st all-time), shutouts (7) and save percentage (.933, 1st all-time).
Senior captain Griffyn Martin (Southport, Conn.) and juniors Blake Delisle (Plano, Texas), Nick Johnson (Dallas, Texas) and Jack Junge (Lincolnshire, Ill.) earned NESCAC All-Academic distinction thanks to their hard work in the classroom this winter. Martin also represented the Bantams on the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Team.
Sabitsky, Whitney, Martin, Morin, captain Connor Hegarty (Wakefield, Mass.) and Bradley Buvinow (Sicklerville, N.J.) all concluded their Trinity hockey careers this winter having helped the team compile an impressive 83-25-9 record during their tenure. In four seasons together, they made four NESCAC Championship Tournament appearances, won two NESCAC Championships, made three NCAA Tournament appearances and appeared in two NCAA Tournament National Championship games, including in 2014-15 when they won the national title.