Amherst Special Teams Lead to 3-1 NESCAC Men's Hockey Victory over Tufts

Recap courtesy of Amherst College

AMHERST, Mass. – The Mammoths impressed on special teams, registering two power play scores and a short-handed tally to battle back from an early 1-0 deficit, as the Amherst College men's ice hockey team downed Tufts University 3-1 Saturday evening at Orr Rink.

Edward Hannon scored for the second straight game for Tufts

With the win, Amherst improves to 10-7-4 on the season and to 7-4-4 in league action, while Tufts falls to 4-13-4 overall (3-9-3 NESCAC). The Mammoths moved into third place with 18 points. With Bowdoin winning 4-3 against Wesleyan tonight, the Jumbos dropped to ninth place with their nine points.

Amherst senior Connor Girard stood strong in net in the opening minutes for the Mammoths, turning away an uncontested shot by Jumbo freshman Edward Hannon at the 18:40 mark after the forward picked up a loose puck in the high slot, and also stonewalling Tufts sophomore Tyler Scroggins' attempt on a breakaway with 11:20 on the clock.

Taking the lead with 3:06 to play in the opening period, Hannon netted his second score of the winter to give the Jumbos a 1-0 edge. Batting down an Amherst attempt to dump in the puck at his own blue line, Hannon gathered the puck, raced down the right side and drove a wrister from the right dot top shelf, short-side.

Responding 7:04 into the second stanza, Mammoth sophomore Joey Lupo deadlocked the contest at 1-1 following a unusual bounce off the boards on a dump in that saw the puck deflect out of the corner and directly to Lupo in the slot for a tap-in score while on the penalty kill.

Securing their first lead of the match-up with 5:48 on the second-period clock, sophomore Patrick Daly tallied Amherst's team-leading ninth goal of the season to put the home team ahead, 2-1. Capitalizing on a power play opportunity following a Tufts too many players on the ice call, Daly powered David White's rebound that deflected off the keeper's shoulder over the goal line.

Recording the Mammoths' second power play goal of the tilt two minutes into the third period, senior Thomas Lindstrom extended the Amherst lead to 3-1. Setting up in front of the net, Lindstrom beat his defender to Phil Johansson's rebound and sent a one-touch shot past the Jumbos' keeper.

Freshman Charley Borek looked to bring Tufts within one with five minutes remaining in regulation as he gathered a dish from senior Brian Brown behind the defense and sprinted towards the goal on a breakaway. However, Girard came up with the clutch stop as Borek toe-dragged to his backhand.

In between the pipes, Girard (7-4-4) racked up 27 saves in the winning effort for Amherst, while senior co-captain Nik Nugnes (3-9-3) made 28 stops in the loss for Tufts. The Mammoths owned a slight 31-28 edge in shot differential in the match-up. Amherst excelled on special teams, finishing 2-for-4 on the power play and netting a short-handed score, while the Jumbos went 0-for-4 up a skater.

Amherst returns to the ice tomorrow when they host Connecticut College in their final home game of the regular season beginning at 3 p.m. The Jumbos travel on to Hamilton College for a 3 p.m. start tomorrow. With only three games left in the regular season, and Tufts currently on the outside looking in for a NESCAC playoff spot, the Jumbos need all the points they can get.