Cardinals Build 4-2 Lead over Trinity in NESCAC Quarterfinal but Come up Short in Overtime, 5-4
Using a stellar second period to get a 3-1 lead during their NESCAC tournament quarterfinal matchup with #3-seed Trinity Sat., Feb. 23, the Cardinals. seeded sixth, kept the lead until just 1:09 remained as the Bantams scored a tying goal with its goaltender on the bench, much as they had done in Middletown eight days earlier, and as they did then, the Bantams went on to score in overtime to take the contest, this time 5-4. Trinity advances in the tournament and will take on #2-seed Williams in one semifinal while host and top-seeded Bowdoin meets #5-seed Middlebury in the other semi.
NESCAC leading scorer Keith Buehler '14 (#13, photo upper left) picked up a goal and two assists to bring his seasonal scoring to 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points, making him just the fifth NESCAC player in the last seven seasons to crack the 40-point barrier. His goal at 7:50 of the third period from between the circles after some hard work up the left side by Ryan White '13 to set up the play, gave Wesleyan a 4-2 margin. But Trinity cut it to 4-3 at 12:44, then evened the count just four seconds after pulling its goalie, drawing a faceoff in the Wesleyan zone back to the blue line for a slapshot that took a strange path with a screen in front of keeper Nolan Daley '16, and snuck inside the left post waist high. Daley ended the game with 40 saves.
The teams battle hard in the extra frame with Wesleyan coming close to ending it midway through the 20-minute overtime as Nick Craven '13 ripped off a wrist shot from the left circle that caught the crossbar flush. Wesleyan also pressured the Bantam net during a power-play chance in overtime but came up empty. Just over a minute after the Weseyan power play ended, Trinity got the game winner with 2:02 left on a wrap-around from behind the net, coming left to right.
Scoring for Wesleyan in the second period were Donald Kleckner '13 (#19, right side of bottom photo), his fifth of the year; Terence Durkin '16 (#14, left side of bottom photo), his second; and Tommy Hartnett '14 (#21, photo upper right), his 10th. Kleckner made it a 1-1 game at 2:23, putting home the rebound of a Hartnett shot, while Durkin gave Wesleyan a 2-1 lead at 12:47 with a sharp wrister from the right circle that just stayed inside the left post. Hartnett then made it 3-1 at 19:49, converting the rebound of a Buehler shot into a high shot into the net from right in front.
While Buehler leads the NESCAC in scoring, Craven stands second with 33 points on 16 goals and 17 assists. Hartnett finished third on the team in scoring with 22 points. Wesleyan posted a 10-11-4 overall record, 6-8-4 in conference play.