The Tufts men’s ice hockey team traveled to Maine in their first undefeated weekend of the season. They faced the Bowdoin College Polar Bears in their game on Friday and the Colby College Mules in their game on Saturday. Entering the weekend, the Jumbos had a record of 2–5 overall and stood at 1–3 in the NESCAC. They came in off of a 4–1 loss to Williams College and a 5–0 shutout win against Middlebury College the previous weekend.
Bowdoin had a record of 4–1 overall and a conference record of 2–1. They beat both Williams and Middlebury, but neither win was convincing, meaning that the Friday matchup looked to be competitive.
In the first period, Tufts got on the board early. As Bowdoin was on the power play, Tufts had a one man disadvantage. A deflected puck was picked up by sophomore forward Harrison Bazianos and passed to fellow sophomore forward Tyler Sedlak. The two went on a 2-on-1 breakaway, and Bazianos was able to finish the shot to put the Jumbos up 1–0. It was the first short-handed goal of the season for Tufts, which is a positive sign, considering the Jumbos have been struggling to score with one man advantages.
Neither side was able to penetrate the other’s defense in the second period. First-year goalkeeper Gus Bylin made 12 saves throughout the period to maintain the one goal lead. He has been solid for the Jumbos this season, having a 1.77 goals against average entering the game.
In the third period, three first-years combined to double the Tufts lead. First-year defender Chris Throndson poked the puck over to first-year forward Max Resnick. Resnick was able to find first-year forward Brendan Fennell, who slotted the puck home to make it 2–0. The Jumbos were able to maintain the lead until there were five minutes remaining in the game. The Polar Bears whipped a pass across the face of goal and tapped it in at the far post to cut the lead to 2–1. A couple of minutes later, Tufts got a power play from a tripping penalty. On the possession however, the puck got loose and a hooking penalty was called against Tufts in their zone. Bowdoin was given a penalty shot which they dispatched in the back of the net to tie the game at two.
This sent the game into overtime, making it the third time in their last three meetings that the games would go to overtime. Neither team was able to score, as the Jumbos held strong. Bylin made four saves in the overtime period, and the game ended in a 2–2 tie.
The players were hungry for success in their next game.
“Going into the next game, there was more desire to have success,” sophomore forward Brennan Horn wrote in an electronic message to the Daily. “Just more emphasis on getting a W. [We] couldn’t come home from the road trip and not have at least another tally in the win column.”
In their next game on Dec. 10, Tufts would face the Colby Mules. The Mules were undefeated entering the game, with an overall record of 6–0 and a conference record of 4–0. Last season, Tufts lost all three matchups against Colby, and only managed to score once against them. Colby was the top seed in the NESCAC entering last year’s playoffs, and were ranked No. 13 in the country entering the weekend. This looked to be a tough matchup for the Jumbos.
The first period stayed scoreless until the very end when there was a flurry of action. With less than four minutes remaining, Colby got on a 4-on-2 breakaway and roofed the puck into the net to take a 1–0 lead. The Jumbos responded quickly however, as two minutes later, senior forward and captain Mason Kohn equalized with a goal of his own to make it 1–1.
In the second period, there was once again no scoring from either side. Bylin made 12 saves in the period, including seven in the last two minutes of the period to keep the game tied.
The third period was a much more back and forth affair, as both teams exchanged scoring chances, and the puck moved quickly up and down the ice. Tufts was able to get on a breakaway, but the shot was saved by Colby’s junior goalkeeper Andy Beran.
Bylin made an incredible stop of his own on a Colby 3-on-1 breakaway to prevent any damage from being done. With just over ten minutes left to play in the period, Tufts was able to get on the power play. It was their third power play of the game, and this time they took advantage. A rebounded shot was tapped in by Kohn to make it 2–1 Tufts.
The Jumbos were able to kill a Colby power play later in the period, and the Mules pulled their goalkeeper with less than a minute left to attempt to equalize. The Jumbos’ defense held strong, and with an empty net they were able to score once more as first-year forward John Mulvihill sent the puck the length of the ice into the Colby net. Bylin made 29 saves throughout the game in an impressive performance. The game ended with a final score of 3–1 Tufts.
The team is proud of their performance against the Mules.
“I mean we ended Colby’s undefeated season and they were top 15 in the country so with that I think the group realized how many great guys we’ve got in the room and that we can compete with anybody we’re up against,” Horn wrote.
The Jumbos now sit at No. 6 in the conference with 7.5 points. They have an overall record of 3–5–1 and a conference record of 2–3–1. They will take a break and then get back in action at the end of the month in nonconference competitions.