Mules grab #7 seed
The Colby men’s ice hockey team finished up conference play this weekend with a home stand against Wesleyan University and Trinity College. The Mules split the two games, defeating Wesleyan on Friday night before falling to Trinity on Saturday.
There were a few strange occurrences in Colby’s Friday win: a shattered pane of glass and a wire-to-wire win by the Mules. Early in the third period, a Wesleyan player cleared the puck hard off the glass. As both teams rushed down the ice, the pane of glass shattered and fell onto the ice and into the stands, narrowly missing one spectator. The game resumed after a lengthy delay during which both teams returned to the locker rooms.
In a season characterized by improbable late-game comebacks, the Mules took a 3-0 lead at 12:15 of the second period of its second-to-last conference game with goals by sophomores Scott Harff and Spike Smigelski, as well as a tally by assistant captain Wil Hartigan ’11.
Wesleyan did not give up, however; they demonstrated that Colby is not the only team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) that can rally in the third. The Cardinals scored two goals at 5:16 and 7:33 of the final period, and suddenly the lead was down to one. Junior Mike Doherty ’12, Colby’s leading scorer, made sure that Wesleyan wouldn’t get any closer to a win, however, by securing an insurance goal with just 4:52 left to play. Senior Cody McKinney saved 36 shots en route to his 37th career victory.
McKinney was the story again on Saturday as he made 29 saves in a duel of goalies against Trinity’s Wes Vesprini. Colby was unable to get more than one goal by the Bantams’ senior netminder. Harff tallied the lone score for the Mules at 10:07 of the third period and captain Billy Crinnion ’11 notched his 80th career point with an assist on the play.
Trinity was only up 1-0 after the first two periods, but the Bantams took a 2-0 lead at 9:27 of the third. Harff’s goal, scored forty seconds later, brought the tally to 2-1, but Colby was unable to rally, and Trinity scored an empty-netter with 15 seconds remaining to make the final score 3-1 in favor of the visitors. Seniors Karl Burns, Crinnion, Hartigan, James Lemonias, McKinney and Bobby Sullivan were, therefore, unable to achieve victory in their final home game.
The team moved to 7-2-1 in its last ten games and 9-10-2 overall. They finish their conference schedule at 8-7-2 and in seventh place in the NESCAC. That record qualifies the Mules for postseason action.
Colby will begin postseason play on February 26 as the number-two seed in the league, playing either Hamilton College or Middlebury College, as both teams are tied atop the conference scoreboard.
The Mules will round out their regular season with a pair of road games next week at New England College in Henniker, N.H. and Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.