Ice hockey loses two conference games

Williams College defeats Tufts hockey 4–5 on Saturday, Dec. 4. Courtesy Kris Dufour

This past weekend, Tufts ice hockey team was swept in the two NESCAC games they played. In Friday night’s match against the Colby Mules, the Jumbos fell 4–0. In Saturday’s game, they lost 3–2 in overtime to the Bowdoin Polar Bears. Tufts’ record now sits at 1–7–1 overall and 1–4–1 in the NESCAC. 

Entering the weekend, the Jumbos were coming off of a mildly successful previous series in which they beat Middlebury 3–2 and lost to Williams 5–4. The Jumbos were fifth in the NESCAC standings and looked to improve upon their position in conference play.

During these past two games, the Jumbos changed their lineup, hoping to generate more offense. With Bowdoin’s record at 0–4–1, Tufts was hoping to get another conference win on the board. The changes quickly paid off, as the Jumbos maintained possession of the puck for the majority of the opening minutes of the game. Tufts was able to get early shots on goal and test the Bowdoin goalkeeper. 

With 10:30 left in the first period, sophomore defender Cam Newton flipped the puck from the right side towards the goal to bring the score to 1–0 in favor of Tufts. The Jumbos continued the pressure on the Bowdoin defense and earned a power play with seven minutes left in the period. Following a faceoff, senior Angus Scott fired the puck into the roof of the Bowdoin net to double the Jumbos’ lead. It was his fifth goal of the year, and puts him among the top ten players to score the most points this season in the NESCAC. Although Tufts was dominating control of the puck, with just over a minute left in the period Bowdoin earned a power play and was able to capitalize to make the score 2–1. 

The second period told a drastically different story than the first. Tufts came out of the break with a good sequence of play but quickly lost steam. Bowdoin picked up momentum and was able to put lots of shots on the Tufts goal. Sophomore goalie Ryan Welch was vital in keeping the score at 2–1.

“[Welch] played an unbelievable game and really stepped up and took ahold of the moment,” Scott said.

Welch made multiple saves on breakaways from the Polar Bears and effectively kept the Jumbos in the game. 

Bowdoin maintained their momentum heading into the third period and found themselves outnumbering the Jumbos at the back. In an effort to be more aggressive, Tufts began to send up their defenders into the attacking zone, but they were frequently getting caught out and left Welch vulnerable. Welch couldn’t keep out the Polar Bears relentless attacks indefinitely, as they scored to tie the game with 10 minutes left to play in regulation. 

The two teams remained tied through the end of the third period, and the game was sent into overtime. In the dying minutes of the third period, Tufts was called for a penalty for hitting from behind, and Bowdoin entered overtime with a four on three power play advantage. Tufts managed to survive the power play without surrendering a goal, but Bowdoin continued the trend from the third period and put high pressure on the Jumbos’ defense. The pressure paid off as Bowdoin scored from the right flank to win the game 3–2. 

In the Colby game, the play was very one-sided. Tufts struggled to generate any offense throughout the game.

“We didn’t really show up, and we didn’t really play our best game,” Cam Newton said.

In the first period, the Jumbos gave up a penalty less than a minute into the game. Colby capitalized on the power play, scoring within the same minute to take the lead 1–0. The Jumbos were then able to hold the Mules off until the end of the first period, when, with four minutes to play, Colby found the back of the net again to make the score 2–0. The Jumbos only managed four shots throughout the first period. 

In the second period, the play evened out a little bit more, as the Jumbos saw chances on a power play and a breakaway right at the end of the period. The Colby goalie managed to keep both attempts out to sustain the shutout of the Jumbos. Senior goalie Josh Sarlo kept Tufts in the game throughout the second period, making 17 saves to keep the score 2–0. 

Heading into the third period, the Jumbos were still hanging in the game only two goals down. However, the Mules quickly quashed those hopes, as they scored a shorthanded goal only three minutes into the period to make it 3–0. Colby scored once more towards the end of the third period to make the final score 4–0, putting the finishing touches on a shutout against the Jumbos.

“Our effort was not where it needed to be as a whole, and that was a game we were looking to forget about and move on,” senior forward Angus Scott said.

The Jumbos will look to regroup and sort out some of the issues they have been facing heading into winter break.

“We have a lot of talent, and we think we really are going to come out really well after break. We just have to fix some of the little things,” Newton said.

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