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Men’s Ice Hockey | Jumbos pick up first win at Rutland Herald Invitational

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 09:12

After notching its first win of the season Saturday, the men’s ice hockey team dropped its fifth of six contests on Sunday, falling to Manhattanville in the final round of the Rutland Herald Invitational and dropping to 1-6 on the season.

The Valiants blanked the Jumbos, using two first-period scores from junior forward Jake Mooney to pull away early and clinch the Invitational title. Meanwhile, sophomore forward Matt Coleman added two assists on Sunday to a three-goal performance in the opening round, and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Two of the Valiants’ three goals came on power plays, an area where coach Brian Murphy’s squad could use improvement. On the season, the Jumbos’ special teams unit is 22 for 33 on power play kills.

Mooney opened the game up in the fifth minute, converting a power play goal past first-year keeper Ryan Kellenberger to put the Valiants on the board first. Less than two minutes later, Mooney doubled Manhattanville’s advantage, striking again on the power play.

The second period was scoreless, although Manhattanville again held the advantage in shots. Going into the third period, the Jumbos hoped to climb back into the game.

Instead, Tufts senior forward Kyle Gallegos and sophomore defenseman Aidan Hartigan were whistled for a series of penalties early in the period, and the Jumbos never gathered the momentum to make a push. After more than 40 scoreless minutes, the Valiants broke through once more. Mooney capped off his hat trick with a third score, this time coming on an empty net during the final ten seconds of play.

The Valiants dominated play for the majority of the game, outshooting Tufts by a 36 to 28 margin. Meanwhile, senior netminder Alex Scola played big between the pipes, helping his squad to its second shutout of the season.

In the end, a 33-save performance from Kellenberger was not enough to keep the Jumbos in the game, as they failed to muster any real offensive possessions throughout the afternoon.

“We played a great game and did a good job of controlling Manhattanville, even though they played fast and physically,” sophomore defenseman Brian Ouellette said. “Unfortunately it did not end up in our favor, but if we continue to play like that, we will have a lot of success in the future.”

Despite the loss on Sunday, Tufts came out of the weekend hopeful after a strong victory the previous day. Senior forward Brendan Fadden, who notched a goal and an assist on Saturday, received the game puck for his performance against Castleton State. He was named to the All-Tournament Team alongside sophomore forward Stewart Bell. 

The Jumbos, who are still in pursuit of their first conference victory, have an opportunity this weekend. On Friday, Tufts will travel to Maine to face Colby and Bowdoin in a tough conference doubleheader. The Jumbos see the upcoming tilts as an opportunity to improve their conference record and build up some confidence after getting the monkey off their backs in the win against Castleton.

“I think we generated a lot of momentum in the Castleton tournament,” junior forward George Pantazopoulos said. “Obviously it would’ve been nice to have won again on Sunday, but our team is continuing to get better every weekend. If everyone continues to work hard and stay level-headed, I’m sure that the hard work will pay off and start to correlate with some more wins.”

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