Amherst Comes Back for 6-1 NESCAC Men's Hockey Win After Early Jumbo Lead

Recap courtesy of Amherst College

AMHERST - Sophomore Nick Bondra potted a score and dished out three assists to lead the Mammoths offense, as the Amherst College men's hockey team rallied past Tufts University, 6-1, Friday evening at Orr Rink.

Trevor Spence netted his first collegiate goal for Tufts

With the win, Amherst improves to 6-4-2 on the season and to 4-2-2 in league play, while Tufts falls to 5-8-0 overall (2-5-0 NESCAC). Amherst returns to the ice tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 12 when they host Connecticut College in a conference clash beginning at 3 p.m. Tufts travels on to Hamilton College for a Saturday game at 3 p.m.

First to strike, Tufts took advantage of a power-play opportunity late in the first period to take a 1-0 lead into intermission. Netting his first score of the winter, Trevor Spence powered a slapper from the middle of the blue line into the bottom right hand corner with 18.9 seconds on the clock to give the visitors the edge. Tyler Scroggins and and Peter Hatton were credited with the assists on the play.

Responding 2:23 into the second stanza, Amherst senior Jack Fitzgerald sent his fifth goal of the year into the nylon to even things up at one all. Perfectly executing a 3-v-2 rush, Fitzgerald teamed up with junior Joey Lupo and Bondra on the score, with Lupo dishing a backhanded pass to Fitzgerald on the far left dot before the senior one-timed a shot over the pad of the sliding keeper.

Grabbing the lead at the 16:08 mark, Mammoths senior Steven Mallory made it a 2-1 game with assists from senior Phil Johansson and sophomore Pieter von Steinberg. Controlling momentum in the offensive zone, Johansson sent a wrister from the point through traffic that was met with a shoulder save, however the rebound landed at the stick of Mallory in the slot and he slid a backhander into the bottom left corner.

The first of two Mammoths' goals in the final 30 seconds of the period, Lupo extended the home team's advantage to 3-1 with 22 seconds on the clock. Racing towards the frame on a 3-v-2, Lupo corralled a dish from Bondra on the far right post, and while his initial attempt was met with an impressive kick save, Lupo followed up on the rebound for the score.

For his third point of the night, Bondra gave Amherst a three-goal cushion 15 seconds later, beating the Jumbos' netminder at the 19:53 mark. Winning the face-off at the left dot, Lupo drew the puck back to Bondra at the top of the circle and he ripped a wrist shot over the glove of the keeper.

Adding two goals to the board in the third period, junior P.J. Conlon and Fitzgerald helped Amherst clinch the 6-1 victory, with Conlon adding a power-play score at the 7:45 mark and Fitzgerald sending a laser into the top right corner at the 9:53 mark.

The Jumbos' best chance of the third period to kick off a late comeback effort came with three minutes remaining, as freshman Justin Brandt rocketed a one-timer from the high slot on target, however senior goalie Alex Einarsson stonewalled the attempt with a highlight reel kick save.

In between the pipes, sophomore Michael Cullen (5-1-1) made 15 stops in just over 50 minutes to earn the win for Amherst, while Einarsson picked up five saves in nine minutes in relief. Drew Hotte (3-8-0) took the loss for Tufts, recording 39 saves in the matchup.

The Mammoths owned a 45-21 advantage in shots on frame and finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Jumbos went 1-for-5 up a skater.