Matt Hadge '13 Makes 55 Saves but Host Williams Outlasts Wesleyan in Men's Ice Hockey NESCAC Semi-Final, 3-2, in OT
For the second time this year, Wesleyan and Williams played in Williamstown with neither team ever leading by more than one goal, and the final outcome favoring the host, 3-2, in overtime. This time, the game had special significance as Williams advanced to the NESCAC tournament finals with this semi-final victory Sat., March 5.
Wesleyan came back from a 1-0 deficit in the second period as neither team scored in the opening 20 minutes. Tommy Hartnett '14 got the equalizer from the slot for the Cardinals with 5:12 left in the middle frame after Henry Coxe '11 started the play with a rush up the right side. Geoff Mucha '12 also assisted on the play. Wesleyan then took the lead in Williamstown for the first time this season when Tom Salah '12 (#5, photo insert upper left) curled from behind the net on the right and stuffed in a backhander during a power-play with 1:48 to go in the frame. During the 3:24 between goals, Wesleyan rang two shots firmly off the pipes, one by Coxe and one by Chris MacDonald '13.
Williams, despite the stellar effort of Cardinal keeper Matt Hadge '13 (#33, main photo), who collected 55 stops to set a NESCAC tournament record in the game, got the equalizer early in third period. The teams then played nearly the entire final stanza scoreless as the tension mounted.
The teams entered overtime and went through 10 solid minutes of end-to-end action before a three-on-one break by the Ephs resulted in the game-winner with 7:32 left in the extra period.
With his assist on the Cardinals' opening goal, Mucha joined Nik Tasiopoulos '14 (12-11-23) and Keith Buehler '14 (7-13-20) as a 20-point scorer with 12 goals and eight assists. Hadge ended the season with a fine 2.52 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.