MALDEN – Senior John Festa's short-handed goal was the game-winner as the Amherst College men's hockey team took a 3-1 NESCAC victory at Tufts University Friday night at Valley Forum.
With the game tied at 1-1, Festa stole the puck from a Jumbo defenseman while fore-checking and went in alone on Tufts goalie Jos Sarlo. With a quick move to his right, he tucked the puck into the net at 10:28 of the second period for a 2-1 Mammoths lead. They would add an empty-net goal for the 3-1 final.
Amherst, unbeaten in its last four games (2-0-2) improved to 10-6-4 overall and 7-4-4 in NESCAC. The Jumbos' struggles continued as they fell to 5-14-2 and 2-11-1 in the league.
The first period was uneventful for the most part until the Mammoths struck late for a 1-0 lead. Senior Stanley Brenner's shot from the slot was saved by Sarlo, but the rebound ricocheted out to junior defenseman Greg Krisberg. From the right edge of the face-off circle he scored his first goal of the year with 2:16 remaining in the first.
The Jumbos would tie the score just 11 seconds into the second period. After sophomore Mason Babbidge won the opening face-off, Jumbo freshman defenseman Rune Kirby took a shot from the left point that Amherst goalie Michael Cullen saved. However, Tufts leading scorer Anthony Farinacci was positioned perfectly to capitalize on the rebound for his seventh goal of the season.
After the Jumbos killed an early penalty, they had a man-advantage following an Amherst infraction nearly nine minutes into the game. However, Festa turned it around by scoring the first short-handed goal of his career to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
Into the third period, the Mammoths had to kill two power-plays while maintaining the slim lead. As the clock wound down under two minutes and the Jumbos prepping to pull the goalie, they took an unfortunate penalty with 1:54 remaining which nullified a man-advantage with the goalie out.
Amherst put the icing on the cake when leading scorer Joey Lupo netted his eighth of the season into the empty net for a power-play goal at 19:36.
The Mammoths' defense did excellent work limiting Tufts' changes, holding the hosts to just 15 shots in the game. Amherst had 26. Cullen made 14 saves in the win while Sarlo had 23 for the Jumbos in the loss.
Amherst, tied with Hamilton for fourth in NESCAC, plays at Connecticut College tomorrow at 3 pm. The Jumbos wrap up their home schedule versus Hamilton on Saturday at 4 pm. It will be Senior Day as captain Clay Berger is honored prior to the game.