WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Peter Mistretta's overtime goal sealed a dramatic 3-2 victory over Connecticut College (1-3-1) and earned the Ephs (4-2) a weekend sweep in New England Small College Athletic Conference play.
After a scoreless third frame, the Ephs came out strong in the overtime period. Just under two minutes into the action, defenseman Brian McNamara controlled the puck in the defensive end and skated through the neutral zone, where he found forward Matt Doyle at the top of the blue line.
Doyle chipped a quick pass to Mistretta in the right slot, who settled the puck and buried a wrist shot under the top left cross bar to give the Ephs the walk-off win.
Mistretta was an offensive force all game and finished the afternoon with three points on two goals and one assist. Defenseman David Jarrett added the other Eph goal, while Doyle, McNamara, and defenseman Zander Masucci also contributed assists.
"He's been playing well," noted head coach Bill Kangas of Mistretta. "He played center for part of the game tonight and we made a move to wing in the third period, but he can shoot the puck. He's got a great release, very deceptive, and he's had some big goals for us."
After putting up five big goals against the Jumbos on Friday night, the Ephs took a bit longer to get on the scoreboard Saturday afternoon. They didn't fail to generate chances, however, as they got a golden opportunity right off the bat to take an early lead.
Just one minute into action, forward John Wickman lofted a cross-ice saucer pass that found the stick of linesmate Eric Rubino out in front of the defense. Rubino fired a quick wrist shot on the breakaway but was denied on a nice save by Camel goaltender Mike Petchonka to keep the game scoreless.
Connecticut College got its chances early on as well, but Eph goaltender Sean Dougherty held strong with some timely saves. Dougherty also relied on the help of his defense, which blocked a number of hard shots from the Camels to keep the puck out of the crease.
Dougherty finished the afternoon with 22 saves on 24 Camel shots in 61:49 minutes of play. Connecticut College goaltender Mike Petchonka also saw 24 shots from the Ephs and stopped 21 of them in 61:02 minutes of play.
With 3:30 remaining in the first period, the Ephs finally got on the board after a Connecticut College tripping penalty gave them a man-advantage. Less than 10 seconds later, Mistretta took a shot from the right side that deflected off a Camel defender and found the stick of David Jarrett. Jarrett steadied the puck and ripped a hard shot from the left slot that found pay dirt to put the Ephs up 1-0 heading into the first intermission.
The second period featured more back-and-forth play, as Connecticut College battled hard on the defensive end to keep the score close. A slew of Camel penalties early in the frame gave the Ephs a pair of 5-on-3 power play advantages, but the Camel defense held strong and blocked a number of Eph shots to keep the score at 1-0.
Eight minutes into the second period, the Camels got on the board on a wrist shot from defenseman Mark Roper from the blue line. Roper's shot found its way through the Eph defense and snuck by Dougherty to knot the score at 1-1.
Later in the second period, the Ephs regained the lead with the help of a lucky bounce off a Connecticut College stick. With five minutes remaining, Mistretta carried the puck down to the right corner and fired a wrist shot toward the goal. The puck skipped off the stick of a Camel defender and squirted through the goaltender's legs to put Williams up 2-1.
Once again, however, the Camels clawed back. After a number of penalties gave Connecticut a 4-on-3 man-advantage, the Camels got offensive pressure on the Eph defense that resulted in a sprawling save by Dougherty. The puck squirted free, however, and forward Mike Sinsigalli jumped on the opportunity to tap in the equalizer, sending the teams into the locker room knotted at 2-2.
The Ephs battled hard to gain the advantage in the final period, but the Connecticut College defense held strong once again. The Camels nearly netted the game-winner with five minutes remaining when Singisalli fired a wrist shot from close range, but the puck clanged off the left post and skidded harmlessly to the corner of the ice.
The Ephs made the most of this lucky break in the overtime period, coming out with high energy and a strong backcheck that led to Mistretta's goal with three minutes remaining.
"Our lineup has been somebody else every night doing something special," added Kangas after the game. "Everybody has been pitching in, and that's the way this team has to play."
After the victory, the Ephs now sit in third place in the NESCAC standings with a 3-1 record in conference play. They will have a chance to improve on that standing next weekend with two more NESCAC games against rival Amherst College on Friday and Hamilton College on Saturday. Both games are in Williamstown.
"To get two points on the weekend is hard; to get four is a task," Kangas said. "We're pretty excited about getting four, but now we've got to enjoy it for the night and get ready for next weekend."