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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, March 4, 2024

Ice hockey starts season with stretch of competitive games

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Tufts forward Fisher Shea, a junior, races toward the goal during a game against Amherst on Feb. 12, 2022.

Tufts men’s hockey opened their season with five games over the past two weeks, two in-conference and three out-of-conference. They enter the next stretch of play with an overall record of 1–4 and a 0–2 NESCAC record. 

In the opening game against the Trinity Bantams, the Jumbos found themselves outmatched facing the previous season’s NESCAC champions. Last season, Tufts lost its two matchups against Trinity 6–4 and 6–2. The Jumbos started the game off on the right foot, however, with first-year forward Max Resnick putting in a tap in goal within the first minute to make it 1–0 Tufts. The lead quickly disappeared as the Bantams put three goals in the back of the net before the end of the first period. Trinity’s pressure was unrelenting for the rest of the game, and in the end, they racked up 10 goals to Tufts’ three. The lone bright spot was Resnick scoring a hat trick in his first collegiate competition. 

“It was pretty cool. … I wish they had a little bit different result, but it was a pretty nice feeling,” Resnick said.

In the next contest, the Jumbos faced a more manageable opponent in the Wesleyan Cardinals. In the 2021–22 season, Tufts won once and tied once against Wesleyan. The Jumbos dominated possession for the majority of the game. Just five minutes in, Resnick scored once again to give Tufts a 1–0 lead. They would hang onto the lead until well into the third period when a cross-ice pass resulted in a goal for Wesleyan. Tufts had an opportunity on the power play, with less than two minutes remaining in the game, but the Wesleyan goalie made sharp stops to prevent a winning goal for the Jumbos. With 27 seconds left, the Cardinals broke Jumbo hearts by scoring on a shorthanded play — Wesleyan forward Owen Sweet darted between two Tufts defenders and slipped the puck past junior goalie Peyton Durand. Tufts fell to a record of 0–2 as they entered their toughest matchup yet. 

The Babson University Beavers were ranked No. 7 in the country and had a record of 5–1–1 entering the game. The first period of the game was scoreless, and Durand was able to stop 12 shots. In the second period, however, he couldn’t keep the Beavers out of the net, and they scored three times within 20 minutes. Early in the third period, the Jumbos struck back with a goal from junior defenseman Sam Miller to make it 3–1. A few minutes later, Tufts was called for a penalty and Babson went on the power play. Sophomore forward Tyler Sedlak was able to steal a pass and draw a foul from Babson, granting a penalty shot to Tufts, which he placed expertly into the back of the net. The game would end with a final score of 3–2, a very impressive showing against a difficult opponent. 

Over the break, the Jumbos played in the Stovepipe Tournament, a two-game contest between four teams: Tufts, Southern New Hampshire, UMass Dartmouth and New England College. In their opening game, Tufts faced Southern New Hampshire and narrowly lost 3–4. The Jumbos racked up 66 shots over the course of the game. First-year goalie Gus Bylin made 26 saves, but it wasn’t quite enough to secure the win. A large part of the offensive struggle was the failure to convert on the power play, as they went 0 for 4. After their loss in the first game, the Jumbos competed in a consolation game against UMass Dartmouth. 

“I think we're a little on the perimeter on the power play and trying to wait for the perfect play, the backdoor tap-in,” Resnick said.

Two first-years, defender Chris Throndson and forward Liam O’Hare, notched their first collegiate goals in the Sunday game. Throndson scored on the first Tufts power play goal of the season. 

“Honestly, we scored one goal on Sunday, and our plan was a shot from the point with two guys screening in front of the net, so I think we just need to get in the goalie's eyes some more,” Resnick said.

Junior forward Aidan Lovett scored the last goal to make the final score a 3–0 win for the Jumbos. Bylin made 32 saves and recorded his first shutout in a dominant performance. 

Throughout the two-game tournament, the Jumbos outshot their opponents 110–62, demonstrating a strong offensive showing to take into the rest of the season. 

“The goal for the team is to win as many games as possible and then win the NESCAC Championship and go on from there,” Resnick said.

They will face Williams on Friday, Dec. 2 and Middlebury on Saturday, Dec. 3, both at home.