Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College men's ice hockey team, which finished the 2019-20 regular season with a 17-6-1 overall record and in second place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with an 12-5-1 league mark, has qualified for the NESCAC Championship Tournament for the 20th-consecutive season and will be the No. 2 seed in the tournament for the first time since 2016. The Bantams, which won the league title in 2003, 2008, 2016, 2017, and last winter, will open the post-season on Saturday, February 29 at 1 p.m. against the No. 7-seeded Amherst College Mammoths (9-11-4, 7-8-3) in a re-match of the 2019 NESCAC Finals. The winner of the NESCAC Championship Tournament will determine the league's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. Top-seeded Williams (16-7-1, 13-5) hosts No. 8-seeded Connecticut College 11-11-2, 7-9-2), No. 3-seeded Hamilton (11-9-4, 10-6-2) hosts No. 6-seeded Bowdoin (12-11-1, 8-9-1) and No. 4-seeded Middlebury (10-11-3, 8-7-3) hosts No. 5-seeded Wesleyan (12-11-1, 8-9-1) in the other quarterfinal games Saturday.
Trinity, coached by Matt Greason (9th Season), jumped out to an 11-1 start to the season and rose to the top spot in the United Stated College Hockey Online.com (USCHO) National Poll. The Bantams, now ranked No. 8 nationally, bounced back from a four-game losing streak to close the year with wins in five of their last six games. Trinity edged Amherst on the road, 2-1, on November 22 but lost by the same score to them at home on the last day in January. Trinity leads the NESCAC in both scoring offense (3.58) and scoring defense (1.88) and also boasts a league-leading power play percentage of 24.3. Senior forward Barclay Gammill (New Canaan, Conn.) leads the NESCAC in scoring with a 32 points on a league-best 18 goals (9th in nation) and 14 assists, followed by sophomore forward Lucas Michaud (South Portland, Maine), the 2019 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, in second with 31 points on seven goals and a conference-high 24 helpers (T12th in nation). Trinity sophomore forward Cole Poliziani (Burlington, Ontario) has come on strong in his second collegiate season with nine goals (T9th in NESCAC) and nine assists for 18 points (T9th in NESCAC).
The Trinity blue line is anchored by junior Liam Feeney (Foxboro, Mass.), a three-time semifinalist for the Concannon Award as the top American-born player in New England, and 2019 All-American sophomore Michael Grande (West Chester, Pa.), who is third in the conference in scoring among defensemen with 17 points (5g, 12a). The stingy unit has limited Trinity opponents to just 647 shots, while Bantam sophomore goaltender Jonah Capriotti (Mount Hope, Ontario) ranks second in the NESCAC with a 1.71 GAA (6th in nation) to with a .930 save percentage. Junior defenseman Tim Weinstein (Norwood, Mass.) is a major offensive contributor on the blue line with 18 assists (3rd in NESCAC) for 18 points (T9th in NESCAC), while Feeney adds 14 assists (T6th in NESCAC), and Grande and junior defenseman James Callahan (Gladstone, N.J.) have seven power-play goals between them from the blue line.
Amherst, coached by Jack Arena (36th Season), has also qualified for all 20 NESCAC Championship Tournaments and tied Bowdoin and Wesleyan for fifth place in the league this winter. The Mammoths came up short to both in the tiebreakers and settle for the No. 7 seed for the first time since 2004. Junior forward Nick Bondra leads Amherst in scoring with 15 points on two goals and 13 assists, while senior forward Patrick Daly has a team-high eight goals, and senior Giancarlo Ventre has a 2.34 GAA and a .921 save percentage between the Mammoth pipes. Trinity has a 4-1 advantage over Amherst in the NESCAC Championship series, including a 3-2 win in overtime on a buzzer-beating goal by junior forward Taggart Corriveau (New Britain, Conn.).