BRUNSWICK, Maine – A back-and-forth New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) battle went to the Tufts University hockey team as the Jumbos downed Bowdoin College, 5-4, on Saturday afternoon.
|Sophomore Josh Sarlo made 36 saves in his second win of the season.|
The Jumbos improve to 3-6-0 overall with a 2-4-0 mark in NESCAC games. The win gives them a NESCAC weekend sweep after a 2-0 victory last night at Colby College. The Polar Bears drop to 4-4-0 on the season with a 2-3-0 record in league contests.
An early tripping penalty was assessed to the Jumbos, but they were able to kill off the extra-man opportunity. However, Bowdoin's early pressure would pay off as Bradley Ingersoll managed to beat Tufts sophomore goaltender Josh Sarlo 6:36 into the contest. The Polar Bears entered the zone as Max Ginsberg looked for Kyle Jadatz. Jadatz sent a pass back to the line for Ingersoll who rifled a shot into the top right of the goal.
The Polar Bears then capitalized on their third powerplay opportunity at 11:08 of the period. After a strong cycle by Graham Rutledge, he found Joe Alexander who fired a shot towards goal from the blueline. Ethan Kimball, who was parked in front, redirected the shot into the net and extended the lead to 2-0.
Following a scramble in front of the Jumbo goal, sophomore Justin Brandt took full advantage of the open ice in front of him and got an odd-man rush going for Tufts. He sent a pass that wrapped all the way around to senior captain Cooper Stahl. Stahl found junior Edward Hannon who was on the left post, who then sent a pass across the slot for sophomore Nick Schultze who buried it into the nearly-open goal. The tally is the first of the season for Schultze.
The teams headed to the first intermission with the Polar Bears leading 2-1 and holding a 15-6 shots advantage.
An overlapping penalty from the first period to the second period gave the Jumbos a man-advantage. Bowdoin nearly tallied a shorthanded goal within the first two minutes of the period, but a goaltender interference call overturned a Polar Bear goal.
Tufts quickly tallied an equalizer after winning an offensive zone faceoff. The puck wrapped from the right hash marks to the left point. Sophomore Brendan Skarda sent it towards the goal for senior Ross Delabruere. He deflected a shot that was stopped, but the rebound found sophomore Angus Scott who banked it off Bowdoin goaltender Alex Zafonte for his first of the year.
Just 35 seconds later, the Polar Bears regained the lead. Caleb Perez connected with Bobby Pearl who fired a two-line stretch pass for Albert Washco. He snuck behind the Jumbos on a breakaway and made a fancy move to his backhand, which beat Sarlo.
The Jumbos continued the attack and tied the contest once again at 7:24 of the period. A turnover just inside the Jumbo blueline allowed an odd-man rush for Tufts. Skarda got the rush going and made a pass to senior Blake McIntyre at the blueline. He fired a shot that Zafonte saved. However, the rebound ricocheted out to the left circle for senior Machlan Sawden who sent a one-timer home for his first of the season.
The tie would not last long once again as a faceoff win by the Polar Bears allowed pressure in the attacking end. Pat Geary scored through traffic just 26 seconds after the Sawden goal which gave the Polar Bears a 4-3 lead.
A tripping penalty was assessed to the Polar Bears at the midway point of the period. The Jumbos would work the puck in and get a cycle going. Skarda slid a pass across the blueline for Stahl, who one-timed a shot on goal. The rebound came out the slot for Scott who quickly buried the chance as the teams tied again at 11:08.
Neither team gained a clear advantage over the remainder of the period as they headed to the break, knotted at 4-4. Tufts outshot Bowdoin 16-11 in the second frame.
The Jumbos earned a powerplay early in the third period, but the Polar Bears managed to kill off the opportunity. Tufts controlled most of the play in the first minutes of the period. However, Washco was strong on the puck and earned an opportunity for Bowdoin. The puck seemed to get lodged in around the goal with a Polar Bear player appearing to have finished off a wrap-around goal. But a quick whistle negated the goal and kept the score tied.
A penalty midway through the period gave the Polar Bears another powerplay opportunity, which the Jumbos killed off. Sarlo was forced to make four saves during the stretch to keep the game tied.
A neutral zone faceoff win by the Jumbos allowed them to dump the puck in. Bowdoin cleared out to the neutral zone, but a quick play by senior Jordan Haney found sophomore Justin Brandt at the blueline. Brandt waited for the Jumbos to catch up and he found junior Michael Gordon in the top of the slot where he fired a wrister by Zafonte to give Tufts a 5-4 lead with five minutes remaining in regulation.
Bowdoin applied pressure with less than two minutes remaining by pulling their goaltender and skating six-on-five. However, Tufts managed to close out the contest and complete the Maine sweep.
The Polar Bears held a slight advantage in shots at 40-35. They also won 40 faceoffs, compared to 28 for Tufts. The Jumbos were 1 for 4 on the powerplay while the Polar Bears were 1 for 6.
Sarlo stopped 36 shots in the winning effort. He improves to 2-4-0 on the season. Zafonte falls to 4-4-0 after making 31 saves.
The Jumbos will next be in action on Saturday, December 28. They are traveling to the University of Wisconsin-Superior for the Superior Showdown. The Polar Bears are off until after the new year. They will travel to Saint Anslem on January 3 for a 4pm start.