Williamstown, Mass. – Senior Liam Feeney (Foxboro, Mass.) scored two goals, including the game-winner with 14 seconds remaining in the third period, lifting the #2 Trinity College men’s ice hockey program over #3 Hamilton 3-2 and into the 2019-20 NESCAC Championship. The Bantams (19-6-1) will play in its fifth consecutive NESCAC Championship and will see either top-seeded Williams of #4 Wesleyan in the final.
Trinity never lost its lead, with Feeney scoring both the game-opening goal and the game-winner. The senior had just one goal to his name entering the afternoon, finishing with three shots on the day. Junior Eric Benshadle (Buffalo, N.Y.) matched Feeney’s point total, adding a goal and an assist in the win.
The game saw the lowest number of shots all season for both sides, with Trinity finishing the day with a 23-20 edge over the Continentals. Bantam netminder Jonah Capriotti (Mount Hope, Ontario) picked up the win, making 18 saves on the day.
Trinity’s first great opportunity came five minutes into the first half. After Capriotti made a handful of glove-side saves, junior Timothy Weinstein (Norwood, Mass.) stole a pass inside the Bantam offensive zone; he wrapped around the net in an attempt to stuff it home, but a great save from Continental goaltender Sean Storr kept the game scoreless. Both sides saw power play opportunities late in the period, but the score stayed 0-0 after the first.
After a slow first period, Trinity began to get things going offensively. After being outshot in the first, the Bantams fired on four-straight in the opening five minutes. First-year Riley Prattson (Tolland, Conn.) was inches from giving Trinity the lead at the 14-minute marker, rifling a shot that rung the crossbar before coming out of the zone.
With just under ten minutes remaining in the second period, Trinity broke the stalemate. With time winding down on the third Bantam power play of the day, the home team capitalized on a botched clear. Senior Barclay Gammill (New Cannan, Conn.) caught the puck on his stick just outside the crease; instead of snapping it home, he dumped the puck off to a wide-open Liam Feeney; the senior one-timed a rocket into the top-left corner, netting his second of the season to give the Bantams a 1-0 lead.
The Bantams held the lead for nearly eight minutes, but the Continentals retaliated, notching the equalizer with less than three minutes to play in the second. After keeping the puck in its offensive zone for nearly a minute, Hamilton’s Fred Allaire snapped a shot from just inside the blue line that picked the right corner.
Trinity turned on the jets late in the second and would regain its one-goal lead before the break. Scoring in a similar fashion to Feeney’s opening tally, junior Devin Moore (Danville, N.H.) received the puck with room in front of the net; a smooth backhanded pass to classmate Eric Benshadle (Buffalo, N.Y.) caught Storr off his line, and the junior ripped home the go-ahead goal.
Trinity opened the period in a frenzy, firing on eight shots through the first ten minutes of the frame. Despite controlling the pace of play, Hamilton fought back and found the equalizer. After killing off a penalty, Trinity couldn’t get the puck out of its defensive zone; Hamilton’s Jordi Jefferson took advantage of that, stuffing home the team’s fourth shot of the period to bring the score level with seven minutes remaining.
Neither team seemed to find an edge, with the game looking like it would go to overtime. With 30 seconds left, the Bantams saw a breakout opportunity after clearing its zone. Weinstein fed the puck behind the net to Benshadle; crashing the net, it was Feeney once again who lit the lamp; the senior received Benshadle’s pass and one-timed it home, advancing the Bantams to the NESCAC Championship.
Trinity will play the winner of Wesleyam and Williams in Sunday’s championship, with game time slated for 2 p.m.