Ice Hockey | Jumbos’ slide continues, finding no NESCAC win over weekend
Published: Monday, January 21, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 00:01
Despite leading or being tied after two periods in each of its games this weekend, the men’s hockey team exited yet another NESCAC doubleheader without a victory. Overall, the Jumbos remain with just a single in−conference win this season.
The Jumbos fell to Trinity 5−2 on Friday night, and managed only a 2−2 tie against Wesleyan the following day. The finishes add to a slump that has seen them drop seven of their last eight NESCAC games.
Furthermore, the results once again display the downturn in the Jumbos’ play since their promising 3−1−1 start to the season. In the Jumbos’ first weekend of the season, they played the Bantams to a 4−4 tie and beat the Cardinals the following day, but were unable to produce similar results against the same opponents two months later.
“I think one thing that maybe we’ve struggled with lately is finding a way to win league games,” junior goaltender Brian Phillips said. “The past three [NESCAC] games against Hamilton, and then Trinity and Wesleyan, going into the third period of all three games we were either tied or had the lead. So we just need to find a way to go into games and come out with the win.”
Before the weekend, Tufts seemed to get back on track with a non−conference win against Wentworth on Tuesday night. The game was a step in the right direction for recovering from harsh losses sustained over winter break.
And throughout the majority of the game against the Bantams the Jumbos carried over that success, with the game in reach through the first two periods. Trinity struck first, but Tufts was able to tie it up 1−1 by the end of the first period on a goal from sophomore forward Andrew White.
The Jumbos then jumped to a 2−1 lead on a quick goal in the second period from sophomore forward Tyler Voigt. After Trinity knotted the game up 2−2 the Bantams exploded in the third period to seize control of the game.
Trinity notched a goal off of the faceoff just 11 seconds into the third period, and followed with another goal just three minutes later to put the game out of reach. Tufts tried to climb back, pulling Phillips in the final minutes, but Trinity capitalized, scoring again, to end the game 5−2.
“We just haven’t been getting the bounces we wanted,” senior co−captain defenseman Nick Metcalfe said. “We were really connecting for the first few periods against Trinity, and then there were a tough couple of bounces that turned the game completely around, unfortunately not in our favor.”
Although the Jumbos did not get any wins from the weekend, they managed to salvage a point from their match against Wesleyan on Saturday.
The Cardinals jumped to an early 1−0 lead, but the Jumbos once again answered early as freshman forward Stewart Bell, assisted by Metcalfe, scored a short−handed goal in the second period to tie the game up.
Two minutes later, White finished off a fast break with a goal to give the Jumbos the lead. Tufts’ advantage held for nearly 20 minutes before Wesleyan tied the contest in the third period.
The match carried over into an overtime period, and with 41 seconds remaining it appeared the Cardinals scored to take the win, until an official waved off the goal due to the net being dislodged prior to the shot.
The Jumbos are optimistic about the point they picked up against the Cardinals, which gives them a chance to right the ship before the season comes to an end.
“We aren’t in the position we planned on in the beginning of the year,” Metcalfe said. “We’ve got to keep practicing hard and turn the season around. We came out and battled really hard against Wesleyan. Obviously we would’ve liked to win, but it’s a good start.”
Last year the team earned a home NESCAC playoff game, but currently sit at ninth place in the NESCAC, on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. According to Phillips, the team needs to gear up to make that push into the top eight, as the opportunity is there for the taking.
“Looking at the standings, we are only one point out of a playoff spot behind Conn. College,” Phillips said. “The most important thing for us is going to be getting into the postseason on a little bit of a roll with momentum so no matter who we are matched up against we put ourselves in a position to win.”