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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

Men’s hockey keeps undefeated streak alive, beating Amherst and tying Hamilton

Jumbos sit at No. 2 in the NESCAC standings after extending their unbeaten run to nine games.

Aiden Lovett7.jpg

Aiden Lovett is pictured in the game against Wentworth Institute of Technology on Jan. 6.

Typically, fire and ice don’t mix. After all, in the presence of fire, solid ice becomes dripping, liquid water. This contradiction has not stopped the Tufts men’s ice hockey team from setting the NESCAC on fire in recent weeks. After starting the season 0–4–1, the Jumbos rattled off seven consecutive wins, starting with a 7–4 win over Williams College on Dec. 1. So, a Friday night trip to take on the Amherst Mammoths presented another opportunity for the Jumbos to make their mark at the top of the NESCAC standings.

Just five minutes in, the Mammoths jumped out to a 1–0 advantage. Defenseman Max Thiessen charged across the red line before dumping the puck off to forward Ben Kuzma. Kuzma centered the puck to forward Tyler Bourque, who lashed a shot at Jumbos’ senior goaltender Peyton Durand. Durand deflected Bourque’s effort, but the rebound settled nicely for Kuzma, who rifled the puck into the net.

The rest of the first period was evenly contested. The Mammoths ended the first with a slight 24–23 edge in shots, while neither side accrued any penalty minutes.

However, four minutes into the second period, a hooking penalty on Mammoth forward Connor Guest set up a Jumbos power play and put them on the offensive.

Junior forward Harrison Bazianos won the puck off a face-off. Junior forward Tyler Sedlak shuffled the puck back to Bazianos, who sent it to sophomore forward Cole Dubicki. Sedlak had continued his charge, receiving the puck from Dubicki before slotting it home for his fourth goal of the season. 

The next five minutes featured six shots from each side. The Jumbos killed one penalty, while the Mammoths killed two. Halfway through the second period, though, the Jumbos broke the deadlock. Sophomore forward Brendan Fennell corralled the puck and skated past the Mammoth defense. He sent the puck to sophomore forward John Mulvihill, who fired it past goalkeeper Connor Leslie’s left post, giving the Jumbos a 2–1 lead they would not relinquish. It was Mulvihill’s team-leading seventh goal of the campaign.

“We haven’t been down in a while, so it’s a little bit of adversity. But, we know with Peyton in the pipes and how well he’s been playing, that he probably won’t give up another,” sophomore forward Max Resnick said. “So it’s on us to front, to take control and just keep doing the right things.”

In total, the Mammoths had eight penalty minutes compared to the Jumbos’ six. Durand saved 30 efforts, while Leslie saved 25. The Jumbos catapulted to second place in the NESCAC standings and picked up their eighth consecutive win. The streak represented their longest winning streak since 1994–95, when they won 11 straight contests. 

The Jumbos’ next opportunity to extend their streak came the following day, as they traveled to Clinton, N.Y. to face off against the Hamilton Continentals.

The first period was tense and level. The Continentals slightly outshot the Jumbos 21–18. The only penalty of the period was committed by Hamilton forward Matt Gellerman, who served two minutes for hooking.

The second period saw the Jumbos take control. Four minutes in, Bazianos passed out of the corner to senior defenseman Cam Newton at the blue line. Newton let loose a shot on goal, which Sedlak redirected into the back of the net past goalkeeper Josh Nadler.

After killing two penalties, the Jumbos struck again with five minutes remaining in the period. Sophomore forward Liam O’Hare gathered the puck behind the net before skating into the offensive zone and passing to Dubicki. He took a shot, which was saved, then garnered the rebound. He then found first-year defenseman Sylas Oberting, who sent a one-timer into the net to extend the Jumbo lead to 2–0.

The rest of the second period was scoreless. However, one minute into the third, the Jumbos expanded their lead. Sophomore defenseman Philippe Lamarre hammered home a wrist shot after junior forward Brennan Horn won a face-off to make it a 3–0 contest. The Jumbos appeared to be sailing to their ninth consecutive victory.

However, like their namesake, the Continentals did not throw away their shot. Newton was sent to the box for holding, putting the Continentals on the power play. Forward Grisha Gotovets took advantage of the opportunity, putting the Continentals on the board with an assist from forward Luke Tchor. 

Just six minutes later, Tchor got in on the action himself thanks to assists from sophomore forward Jackson Krock and junior defenseman William Neault, bringing the Continentals within one.

With under two minutes remaining in the game, the Continentals finished off their comeback. After pulling Nadler to gain a man advantage, forward Max Bulawka equalized with assists from forward Devon de Vries and defenseman James Philpott. With the score knotted at three after 60 minutes, the game was sent to overtime to decide whether the Jumbos would continue their winning streak.

The five-minute addendum was uneventful, however. Though the Continentals outshot the Jumbos 6–1, both defenses held strong and the game finished in a 3–3 tie.  

“We got a little comfortable and [a] little stagnant towards the end. And they kept their foot on the gas, and [we] kind of gave up a little bit, and it goes to show that any little mistake will come back to bite you,” Resnick said.

Although their winning streak came to an end, the Jumbos remained undefeated in 2024 — their last loss was on Nov. 26. Their next matchup will come against the Trinity Bantams on Friday, who hold a five-point lead over the No. 2 Jumbos at the top of the NESCAC standings. The Bantams have proven to be a difficult opponent for the Jumbos, who hold a 1–8–1 record in the pair’s last 10 matchups. Nonetheless, the Jumbos are confident that they can keep their fire burning and continue to set the NESCAC ablaze.

“I think we know how they’re usually a pretty good team. But I think once we get on the ice we’re just as good as them if not better. So having confidence in ourselves and knowing that we can beat them, … I like our odds,” Resnick said.