Men's Ice Hockey | Tufts falls in double-header against Conn. College
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 09:02
As the hourglass continues to run down on the Jumbos’ shot at becoming a postseason contender, the men’s hockey team did itself no favors this weekend. Hoping to come out of its only home-and-away doubleheader of the season with two wins and four points, head coach Brian Murphy’s squad instead skated away empty-handed after dropping consecutive contests to traveling partner Conn. College.
Penalties have become increasingly problematic for the frustrated squad. On the defensive end the Jumbos have continued to rack up costly penalties, including yet another five-minute major game misconduct on Friday. On the offensive end, Tufts has not fared much better. The team has struggled to capitalize on the man-up and went 3-for-13 on the power play over the weekend.
“Special teams has been an area that we’ve really been working on,” freshman forward Pat Lackey said. “We have been trying to focus on staying out of the box, but sometimes the officials are forced to make the call. Overall on the year, I think our penalty kills and power plays have been solid, but this weekend didn’t really reflect that.”
After dropping a game to Conn. College on Friday evening, the Jumbos loaded the bus and followed the Camels back to New London, Conn. for a second-straight day of head-to-head action. The result was the same, however, as they uncharacteristically dug themselves a deep first-period hole that proved too difficult to climb out of.
This season, the Jumbos have typically played well in the opening 20 minutes, only allowing games to slip away in the later periods. Saturday’s contest told a different story. In front of a packed crowd for its own benefit awareness game, Conn. College peppered freshman goalie Ryan Kellenberger in the early minutes and entered the first intermission with a sizeable 3-0 lead.
The Camels executed the dump and chase strategy effectively in the first period, playing the puck deep into the corners of their offensive zone and bringing heavy offensive pressure on the forecheck. Their first goal came at the 4:06 mark, when freshman forward Joe Giordano followed a rebound behind the net and finished a wraparound shot past Kellenberger.
Just 40 seconds later, Conn. College doubled its advantage as senior forward Kevin Kelly dished the rubber to sophomore forward Penn Sednaoui, who flipped the Camels’ second goal of the evening into the back of the net.
Midway through the period, the Camels dumped in their third goal of the evening. This time junior forward JC Cangelosi broke free of the Tufts defense and received the puck from senior defenseman Kevin Reich, depositing it in the upper right corner. Following the rough start, Murphy benched the young Kellenberger in favor of veteran goalie Greg Jenkins, a senior who has started most of Tufts’ recent matchups.
“Going down three goals was a result of a lack of focus and intensity during the most difficult time for a team on the road — the first five minutes,” freshman forward Mike Leary said.
Towards the end of the second period, the Jumbos tacked on a power-play score when junior defenseman Shawn Power tracked down a rebound off junior forward Andrew White and sent a shot in from the left circle to pull Tufts within two.
Five minutes later, however, Conn. College extended the lead back to three when Kelly located the puck in a scramble and worked it past Jenkins, making it 4-1.
Entering the final period with a three-point deficit, the Jumbos were given a golden opportunity when Sednaoui was whistled for a five-minute-charging major. But Tufts made no use of the advantage, squandering the power play without piecing together any real scoring opportunities.
“We let in some penalty kill goals and weren’t able to capitalize on the power play ourselves, so that hurt us,” Lackey said. “We passed up some prime opportunities, but I don’t think that put us out of the game completely.”
The Camels’ Cangelosi finished a short-handed score at the 11:45 mark to extend his team’s lead to four with fewer than 10 minutes remaining.
Trailing 5-1 with just two minutes remaining, Tufts refused to give up the ship. At the 18:40 mark, Jumbos’ junior forward Tyler Voigt lit the lamp on a power play. Seconds later, Lackey lit up the boards again, pulling Tufts within two.
“Leary took a hard shot from the top of the circle, and I was situated in front of the net,” Lackey said. “The goalie kicked out a rebound to the slot, and I picked up the puck and sent a one-timer towards the far side where it slid in.”
However, the Jumbos would come no closer as the remaining minute closed out.
“To be honest the early goals forced our team to bear down and start playing with more urgency,” Leary said. “We were able to chip away, but unfortunately it was both too little and too late for a comeback.”