Men's Hockey: Playoffs Still in Reach
Despite some strong individual performances and a valiant comeback effort, the Colby Men's Ice Hockey team fell short in their two games over the weekend at Wesleyan and Trinity. Although the Mules did not get the results they were looking for on Friday and Saturday, they remain in a favorable position, as this weekend they aim to lock up their spot in the New England Small College Athletic Conference Tournament.
Friday's game saw the Mules travel to Middletown, CT to take on the Cardinals of Wesleyan. Colby goaltender Cody McKinney '11 kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard for the first period, making eight saves and finishing the game with 19 in all. Wesleyan broke through in the second period with four goals, but Colby notched one of its own in the in third period when team points leader Billy Crinnion '11 found co-captain Michael Belliveau '10 open in the slot, and Belliveau finished the opportunity to tally his second goal of the season.
The Mules looked to rally the next day against Trinity. The Bantams got off to a hot start, putting home two goals in the first 8:30 to take a quick 2-0 lead. Undaunted, the Mules regrouped after the first intermission and quickly grabbed a goal of their own when Crinnion put home his 11th goal of the season off of an assist from Mike Doherty '12 less than a minute into the period. After Trinity responded in turn with three goals of its own, a lesser team would have packed it in and hung their heads. The Mules instead took the period break to circle the wagons and resolve to claw their way back into the game.
Colby came out with a nothing-to-lose mentality, and were rewarded for their offensive onslaught when Nick Kondiles '13 put home a pass from first-year Cory McGrath '13 with just over five minutes gone in the period. Doherty then got in on the scoring, after some nice passing from Patrick Bursee '12 and Crinnion found the sophomore open for his 8th goal of the season. The Mules cut Trinity's lead down to 5-4 just a minute and a half later when Jared Crittenden '10 found the back of the net off of a pass from Dan Nelson '11.
The Mules' comeback was buoyed thanks in large part to the effort in net by McKinney, who made a staggering 21 saves in the third period to help keep the Mules' attack going forward. He finished with a whopping 50 saves for the game. In spite of their best efforts during the final five and a half minutes, Colby was unable to score any more goals, ultimately falling 6-4 after an empty net goal by Trinity late in the contest.
The Mules are now looking forward to their final two regular season contests, both in the comfy confines of Alfond Rink on Friday and Saturday. First up will be a clash with New England College on Friday night, followed by a matinee on Saturday against Saint Anselm. The Mules are still in control of their own playoff destiny, and will seek to punch their postseason ticket on Friday night.