MALDEN – The Tufts University hockey fell to Williams College in a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) game, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon at the Valley Forum.
|Junior Mason Babbidge earned his first goal of the season.|
The Jumbos fall to 0-4-0 on the season with a 0-4-0 record in NESCAC games. Williams, which is receiving votes in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll, remains unbeaten at 4-0-0 overall and in league games.
Williams struck first in the opening five minutes. The Jumbos were on the attack, but the Ephs won possession down below the goal line and broke a pass out to center ice for Tyler Cooligan. He drove down the left side of the ice and to the top of the left circle. He fired a shot that went into the top left of the goal, beating sophomore goaltender, Josh Sarlo. That is his first career goal.
The Jumbos had a strong opportunity to quickly even the score as junior Brendan Ryan found free space down the right wing. He cut in towards goal for a quick shot, but Ephs goaltender Evan Ruschil made the save.
Williams had a very strong chance to double their lead late in the first period following a turnover by the Jumbos in their defensive zone. Cooligan forced the turnover and sent a pass for Jack Forrest, however Sarlo stood tall and kept the deficit where it was.
Into the second period, the teams skated back and forth for the first couple of minutes and the Jumbos earned plenty of shots on goal. The best came after a defensive zone faceoff win by Ryan. Junior Hayden Smith found classmate Charley Borek crashing through the neutral zone. Borek fired a shot from the top of the left circle that Ruschil turned aside. However, the opportunity paved way for Wyatt Glover to go on a near breakaway going the other way that Sarlo stopped.
The Ephs doubled their lead 7:17 into the second period. Nick Altmann and Nick VanBelle set up Niko Karamanis who was waiting on the right side of the goal. Altmann and VanBelle used strong passing to find the free man on the open side of the goal.
The Jumbos pulled within a goal after Williams was assessed a five-minute major. Tufts needed 4:58 of the extra-man opportunity, but junior Mason Babbidge earned his first goal of the season with an assist going to Borek. Freshman Alex Lycett won a battle in the neutral zone with a stick lift. Sophomore Nick Schultze sent a puck towards goal that Williams attempted to clear, but Borek kept it in and fired a shot towards the goal. The puck deflected to the right of the goal for Babbidge who had a near empty net to capitalize on the powerplay opportunity.
The Jumbos had an opportunity to tie the score midway through the third the period as sophomore Brendan Skarda found himself on a breakaway, but his backhand try was saved. Just minutes later, senior Machlan Sawden was the beneficiary of a bounce off the glass. The attempted dump-in bounced off the glass to the middle of the slot. Sawden quickly fired a wrist shot that forced Ruschil to drop to make the save and cover the puck.
Sarlo made 38 saves in the losing effort. Ruschil made 29 saves on 30 shots on goal. The teams were nearly even in faceoffs as the Ephs held a slight advantage at 39-37. The Ephs outshot the Jumbos, 40-30. Tufts was 1 for 1 on the powerplay while Williams was 0 for 3.
The Jumbos return to the ice on Tuesday when they host Babson College in a non-conference matchup. Puck drop is slated for 7 pm. The Ephs are off until next Saturday when they host Babson in a non-conference game at 3 pm.