CLINTON, N.Y. — The Hamilton Continentals (6-4-1) scored three goals in the third period Saturday afternoon to hand the Williams College men’s hockey team (7-2-1) their second straight defeat.
After the Ephs took a 2-1 advantage in the first period, the Continentals responded with three goals in a row to jump out to a 4-2 lead. Williams battled back with a goal of their own to narrow the score to 4-3, but that would be all the offense they could muster as Hamilton held on for a 6-3 victory.
Scoring goals for the Ephs were forwards John Wickman ’13, Ben Contini ’11, and Bryden McGhee ’14. Defenseman Stephen Maier ’12 also tallied two assists.
Hamilton started the scoring very early, as forward Nick Anderson flicked in a rebound attempt only 30 seconds into the game. Four minutes later, Wickman answered by corralling a loose puck in front of the net on a Williams power play and poking it in for the score to tie the game at 1-1.
Less than a minute later, Contini put the Ephs on top 2-1 when he took a pass from Eric Rubino ’13 and fired a wrist shot into the net from the right circle.
After three goals in the game’s first five minutes, both teams slowed down somewhat offensively as the first period wore on. However, Hamilton managed to score on a redirected shot midway through the period that tied the score at 2-2, and it would remain this way for the rest of the period.
Both teams fought hard to jump out ahead in the second period, and it was Hamilton who succeeded at the 13-minute mark when the puck caromed off forward Phil DiDonato and past goaltender Ryan Purdy ’12 to give the Continentals a goal and a 3-2 lead heading into the final twenty minutes.
Hamilton extended its lead to 4-2 with a goal halfway through the third period, but Williams kept up their offensive pressure. At the 10-minute mark, the Ephs capitalized on yet another power play when McGhee ripped a slap shot into the net from the top of the left circle to cut the lead to 4-3. Maier contributed on the assist.
The Ephs were strong on the power play all weekend, which Coach Bill Kangas noted as a positive despite two losing efforts. They tallied a power play goal against Amherst on Friday night and were a perfect 2-2 against the Continentals, giving them three power play goals on the weekend and eight on the season.
Although Williams continued to compete and create scoring chances late into the final period, they were unable to find the back of the net. With two minutes remaining, Hamilton got another timely goal from Anderson on a one-timer that gave them a two-goal cushion yet again at 5-3. A minute later, the Continentals added an empty-net goal to make the score 6-3 and hand Williams its second straight loss.
Williams had 28 shots on the afternoon, while Hamilton had 35. Purdy stopped 29 shots in 59:31 minutes, while Hamilton goaltender Scott Hefferman made 25 saves in 60 minutes of play.
Williams had the top-ranked defense in the NESCAC heading into Saturday’s game, and Hamilton’s six goals were by far the most the Ephs have given up all season.
Added Kangas, “Defense has been the trademark of our team this season, but tonight Hamilton outworked us on the defensive end.” Still, he has faith the Ephs will rebound: “We are a resilient team, and I am confident that our team can play at a higher level.”
Williams will get five days off before they return home to play another pair of conference games next weekend against NESCAC opponents Wesleyan (2-5-3) and Trinity (3-5-2). The Wesleyan game is on Friday, January 14 at 7 PM, while the Trinity game will be played the following day at 3 PM. Both contests will be at Lansing Chapman Rink.