With the final game of the regular season looming for Sat., Feb. 18 in Middletown, the rematch with Trinity holds significance for both teams' playoff picture. After Trinity grabbed the first game of the series, 5-2 in Hartford Fri., Feb. 17, the teams are tied for sixth in the conference standings with a 6-9-2 league record. The winner of the Saturday contest will be no worse that #6 for the playoffs. Wesleyan will lock up sixth place with a win while Trinity still has a shot at #5 with a victory.
Wesleyan was fighting an uphill battle Friday after Trinity scored twice in a span of just 1:33 midway thorugh the opening stanza. The Cardinals got one back with only three ticks left on the first-period clock as Keith Buehler '14 (#13, main photo) lit the lamp on the power play, his 14th goal of the campaign.
Trinity again netted a pair of goal in short order, this time late on the second stanza separated by only 2:42, to take a commanding 4-1 lead into the final 20 minutes. When Nik Tasiopoulos '14 (#24, photo insert upper right) scored his team-leading 18th goal of the year at 11:49, Wesleyan had new life but the Cardinals could not get any closer and the Bantams added an empty-net goal with :24 to go for the final tally. Wesleyan outshot Trinity, 36-26, including a 23-12 margin over the final 40 minutes.
In the first season of the double-round-robin NESCAC schedule, Wesleyan has defeated five of its nine NESCAC rivals at least once and is hopeful of making it six out of nine on Saturday. Wesleyan is undefeated against Hamilton (2-0), Conn. College (1-0-1) and Colby (1-0-1) while splitting games with both Middlebury and Williams. Wesleyan is 0-2 vs. Amherst, Tufts and Bowdoin.