Two Late Goals Propel Hockey to 2-0 NESCAC Victory at Colby

WATERVILLE, Maine – Two goals in the final five minutes of regulation helped the Tufts University hockey team earn their first New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) win of the 2019-20 season at Colby College on Friday night, 2-0.

Sophomore Justin Brandt tallied his team-leading third goal of the season.

The Jumbos improve to 2-6-0 on the season with a 1-4-0 record in NESCAC games. The Mules fall to 3-4-0 with a 1-3-0 mark in league games.

The Mules nearly jumped on the board first as a wrister by Justin Grillo rung off the post. They continued to apply pressure after a long stretch pass was deflected into the corner. Tim Reilly attempted a wrap around, but Tufts junior goaltender Drew Hotte turned the chance aside. Paddy Daley was on the doorstep for a rebound shot that Hotte again saved.

Tufts had a strong chance just minutes later. An attempted dump-in was knocked down by a Mule defender. However, the puck found senior Jordan Haney who fired a shot that was saved by the Colby goaltender Andrew Tucci. The rebound would go to Tucci's left. The Jumbos won the loose puck battle and sent a pass to the slot for junior Angus Scott. Tucci slid out to attack and cut down the angle which proved to be the difference in making the save.

Grillo forced an attacking zone turnover at the top of the circles. He and two other Mules were in behind the defense, but Hotte stopped the Grillo shot to keep the game scoreless. At about the halfway point of the first period, Hotte flashed his left pad to make a strong save and clear a Colby opportunity.

The Jumbos forced a turnover late in the period in the attacking end. Scott stole the breakout pass and walked in from the left faceoff dot. Tucci made the save with Jumbo sophomore Brendan Skarda sitting on the doorstep, but the rebound never fell to the forward.

The first period came to a close the same way it started, tied at 0-0. The Mules outshot the Jumbos 16-9 in the period.

Colby came out of intermission on the attack as they held the puck in their offensive end for most of the first minute of play. J.P. Schuhlen had a strong shot from the left circle.

Tutfs earned the first powerplay of the contest. Freshman Alex Lycett and Skarda set up one-timers from both sides of the ice which forced Tucci to make two sliding saves to help kill off the extra-man opportunity. A shot by senior Cory Gottfried was deflected in from by sophomore Nick Schultze, but it trickled just wide.

A penalty was assessed to the Jumbos and Hotte stood tall during the powerplay. A pass across the slot found Grillo on the left side of the ice. His one-time shot was stopped as the junior slid to his right and make a spectacular glove save. Tufts killed off the penalty.

Both teams were issued roughing penalties just after the midway point of the second period. The Mules controlled most of the early four-on-four possession, but the Jumbos responded with the best opportunity as Haney found a loose puck at the top of the slot. He hesitated and his shot just grazed the defender in front to block away the attempt.

The Jumbos had a very strong chance to break the tie with just seconds remaining in the second frame. A pass found junior Charley Borek in the left corner. He sent a pass back to the top of the slot for Lycett. Tucci made a shoulder save and the rebound came back out in front, but the it was cleared away.

Through 40 minutes, the contest remained scoreless as both teams had opportunities to find the first goal of the game. Shots in the second period were at 10 for each side.

Following a penalty assessed after the buzzer of the second stanza, the Jumbos went on the powerplay to start the third period. Another near-goal for the Jumbos started with senior Cooper Stahl at the blue line. He passed to his right for sophomore Trevor Spence who found a seam across the slot for Skarda. Tucci had to dive across to make the save. However, a five-minute major killed off the rest of the Jumbo powerplay. The Jumbos killed off the major penalty without allowing a shot on goal.

Neither team could gain a clear advantage throughout the period, but a hooking penalty that was issued to the Jumbos gave Colby their third powerplay chance on the night. Michael Morrissey stepped into a loose puck, but Hotte made the save on the wrister from the top of the circles.

The Jumbos would break the scoreless tie after winning an offensive zone faceoff. It was cleared out to center ice. Haney got Tufts moving forward with a pass for Borek. Borek hesitated and wrapped back around the circle. He sent a pass to sophomore Justin Brandt who was on the doorstep. He made a move to his forehand and beat Tucci with five minutes remaining in the third period.

Following a late turnover in the attacking end, Logan Clarke found a loose puck in front. Hotte made a sprawling save to keep the Jumbos in front.

Junior Peter Hatton won the defensive zone faceoff following a Colby timeout. The loose puck went to Haney who fired a shot from the left faceoff circle all the way down the ice into the empty net to ice the contest for Tufts.

The Jumbos were outshot, 34-26. Tufts was 0 for 2 on the powerplay while Colby was 0 for 3. The Mules controlled the faceoff dots, holding a 38-23 faceoff win margin.

Hotte earned his first win of the season after the superb 34-save shutout. Tucci falls to 2-4-0 on the season after stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced.

Tufts returns to action on Saturday afternoon with a 3 pm scheduled start at Bowdoin College. Colby hosts Connecticut College on Saturday, also with a 3 pm start.