Holding a tenuous 3-2 lead over host Hamilton less than a minute into the second period of their game against the Continentals Sat., Jan. 26, the Cardinals opened the scoring floodgates over the final 38 minutes of the contest, scoring eight times to roll to an 11-3 NESCAC win. It was just the fourth time in program history that Wesleyan has netted double-digit goals vs. a NESCAC opponent. The last came Nov. 25, 1986 when Wesleyan beat Tufts, then in its first year as a varsity program in 26 years, by the identical 11-3 count. Before that, Wesleyan defeated Conn. College, 10-1, Feb. 7, 1981, in just the second-ever meeting of the squads; and knocked off Trinity, 12-4, Feb. 21, 1979.
Leading the scoring parade at Hamilton, as 16 of the 18 skaters registered a point, were Adam Kaiser '13 (#29, main photo) with two goals and three assists, while Keith Buehler '14 (#13, photo insert upper left) picked up his second hat trick of the season along with an assist for a four-point game. Nick Craven '13, who had a goal and three assists, made it 15 straight game with at least one scoring point. Craven and Buehler rank #1 and #2 in the NESCAC for scoring with 31 and 30 points, respectively. Buehler's 16 goals also tops the NESCAC list.
After Jay Matthews '16 responded to Hamilton's goal just 17 seconds into the second period that cut the gap to one, with his third goal of the season at the 2:00 mark, Wesleyan then scored three power-play goals to close out the period, one by Craven and two by Kaiser, to carry a 7-2 lead into the final period. The Cardinals tacked on two more man-up goals in the final stanza, those by Connor Ryan '15 and Alex Carlacci '16, their second of the season each, as Wesleyan was a potent 5-for-9 on the power play during the contest. The Cardinals now lead the NESCAC in power-play efficiency, connecting on 28 percent of their chances. In total, Wesleyan had four third-period goals as Buehler completed his hat trick just 36 seconds into the frame and Brad Improta '14 closed out the scoring with 2:21 to play.
Wesleyan had a 42-30 edge in shots for the game but held a 33-15 margin after two period of play. Goalie Nolan Daley '16 collected 27 saves in the contest.
Up next for the team was another NESCAC road game, visiting Middlebury Fri., Feb. 1. There Wesleyan scored first before falling behind 3-1 late in the first period. The Cardinals got one back in the second period to narrow the gap to 3-2, then tied the count at 3-3 with 13:47 to play as Connor Ryan '15 made it a three-point game with his third assist of the night, setting up Keith Buelher '14 for his team-leading 17th goal of the year. Ryan had assisted on both earlier goals, the first by Terence Durkin '16 on a nice 2-on-1 rush at 11:28 of the first period and the second by Ryan White '13 at 13:06 of the middle period.
But Middlebury took the lead for good at 9:53 of the third period, added a power-play goal 1:43 later for a 5-3 lead and capped the scoring at 16:19 to lock up the season series. With a 37-17 edge in shots, the Pathers kept Glenn Stowell '13 busy in net as he registered 31 saves. Middlebury had beaten Wesleyan in Middletown earlier this year, 4-3.
Wesleyan closes out the road NESCAC weekend at Williams Sat., Feb. 2. The game, starting at 3 p.m., is slated for a webcast.