This weekend, the Tufts men’s ice hockey team played against Connecticut College twice. This proved to be the second chance the Jumbos needed. After losing 4–3 in overtime at home against the Camels on Friday night, the Jumbos came back with a 4–0 win on Saturday in New London, Conn. to show that Friday night was an anomaly.
On Friday, the Jumbos started strong with a goal by junior forward Tyler Sedlak in the first period that brought the score to 1–1 going into the second period.
After a scoreless second period by both teams, the Jumbos picked back up in the third. Goals by sophomore forward Cole Dubicki and senior defenseman Sam Miller brought the score to 3–1 with less than six minutes left in the third.
Though two goals in five minutes is a difficult feat, in the NESCAC, anything can happen. The Camels scored with about three minutes left, and then, before the Jumbos seemed to process that they were in a 1-point game, they scored with just 20 seconds left to send the game to overtime. The Jumbos weren’t able to defend against the Camels; in overtime, Conn. scored again to bring the final score to a 4–3 loss that didn’t reflect the strength of the Tufts team.
“We knew we were the better team all along,” sophomore forward Max Resnick said. “Friday night, we just got into penalty trouble and let them hang around, and they ended up getting lucky and winning.”
While they were on the ice, the Jumbos played incredibly well. But their biggest issue came from the amount of time they were spending in the penalty box. With a total of eight penalties, the Camels spent 13 minutes on the power play and scored two of their four goals during that time.
“Friday night, I think we took  penalty minutes, which is absurd,” Resnick said. “That’s almost a whole period in the box. So just being disciplined, not stirring it up, just playing our game … and just playing for us and each other is a skill that we worked on.”
The Jumbos acknowledged the loss and came ready to play a decisive game of hockey on Saturday.
“[Friday] was tough. We should never lose a 2 goal lead in the 3rd period and we all know that,” Sedlak wrote in an email to the Daily. “But we had to quickly flush it and worry about [Saturday’s] game and bouncing back as it was crucial for our standing. With that being said, we knew we were the better team, and we were all eager to go and prove that on Saturday.”
If the Jumbos were out for revenge after Friday, they certainly found it with a 4–0 victory on Saturday.
“We had a character win [on] Saturday, coming out and winning 4–0 after blowing a lead and losing at home in front of a big crowd,” senior goalie Peyton Durand said. “I think the loss woke everyone up. We did our best and delivered our best and got the win.”
The strong victory was an important moment for the Jumbos to show how they could play as well as maintain their standing in the NESCAC.
“We knew Saturday was a must-win,” Resnick said. “So we were pretty ready to go, fired up from the puck drop and we showed from the start that we were ready to go.”
Though the game started slow at first, with no scoring in the first period, the Jumbos were able to pick up the pace with a goal by Sedlak near the end of the second period. The third period, though, was when the Jumbos demonstrated just how much better they were. Sedlak scored again early in the third period, followed by back-to-back goals from junior forward Harrison Bazianos to bring the score to 4–0.
The Jumbos forward line of Bazianos, Sedlak and Resnick proved unstoppable for the Camels. Bazianos and Sedlak had an impressive two goals each, and Resnick assisted three out of the four goals.
“On Saturday … between [Resnick, Bazianos and me], we had another level we needed to play at, and we did just that,” Sedlak wrote. “We have been able to find chemistry all year and I think we all complement each other really well, so it’s fun being able to play alongside them every night.”
Durand’s impressive goaltending and the team’s strong defense made the Jumbos’ already strong offense completely untouchable for the Camels.
“We are one of the teams in the NESCAC that’s given up the least amount of goals all year,” Durand said. “I think that says a lot about our [defensive] core. … On Saturday especially, they kept a lot of shots that I saw to the outside.”
Another important aspect of the Jumbos’ win on Saturday was avoiding the penalty trouble they had run into Friday night. They only faced two penalties, meaning they had five skaters on the ice for the vast majority of the game.
“The emphasis for Saturday was to stay out of the box and play against them 5-on-5 because we thought we dominated play 5-on-5 Friday when we were at even strength,” Durand said. “And we did stay out of the box, we took [fewer] penalties and then we won 4–0 on Saturday. I think that was pretty telling of our team and how good we can be when we’re playing 5-on-5 instead of living in the penalty box.”
Next weekend, Tufts will play two home games against Amherst and Hamilton in their second-to-last weekend of the regular season.
“We have two huge weekends coming up,” Resnick said. “Hopefully we play well … and we end up with a good seed going into the playoffs.”