Mens Hockey: Mules in Playoffs
After a one-year hiatus, the Colby men's ice hockey team is headed back to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) playoffs. The Mules won't have to travel far for their postseason clash, as they head down I-295 to take on Bowdoin this Saturday. The Mules lead the season series against the top-ranked Polar Bears 2-0, giving them a strong boost in confidence as the game approaches.
Although Colby headed into the weekend with their playoff position uncertain, they were nevertheless in a favorable spot. The Mules needed to simply win one of their two games, or for Connecticut College to lose either of its two games. On Friday night the Camels cooperated, falling to Norwich University and thus turning the Mules' two weekend contests into tune-ups for the forthcoming encounter with Bowdoin.
The Mules first took on a New England College team in a fight for their own playoff lives Friday night at Alfond Rink. The Colby men battled hard, coming back from multiple deficits to remain within striking distance for most of the contest, but ultimately ended up on the short end of a 7-3 final. Colby received goals from Billy Crinnion '11, Nick Kondiles '13 and Jesse Lehman '12. They also shared the puck well, with Mike Doherty '12 dishing two assists and Crinnion, Lehman, Wil Hartigan '11 and co-captain Matt Strickland '10 each notching one. Cody McKinney '11 and Jared Tepper '10 combined for 18 saves in net.
Despite the security of their playoff berth, the Mules came out on fire on senior day Saturday as they looked to avenge their loss from the night before. After a goal by visiting Saint Anselm only just over 11 minutes into the first period, Colby's Kondiles responded 23 seconds later with a goal of his own off of passes from Dan Nelson '12 and Crinnion to tie the score. A mere minute and 28 seconds later, Patrick Bursee '12 put the Mules in front off of an assist from Jared Crittenden '10 and Crinnion again.
In the second period, the Mules continued their onslaught. Mike White '10 tallied his first goal of the season from another Crinnion assist, along with some help from Doherty. Doherty and Crinnion sizzled in the two contests, combining for six assists on the weekend. The Mules punctuated their offensive dominance with a goal from Hartigan late in the third period, assisted by Strickland and White. James Lemonias '11 earned his first career victory in net for Colby, making 30 saves between the pipes and turning away constant pressure from the Saint Anselm attack. Lemonias was especially strong in the final period, where he turned away all 16 shots he faced to preserve the victory for the home team.
With the regular season now over, the second season begins for Colby. The team will look to build off of their success this season against Bowdoin, where in December they earned a 4-2 win at home and a 4-3 win on the road. The storied rivalry will reignite one last time this year, at 7 p.m. on Saturday with the season on the line.