Clinching their seventh outright Little Three title in the last 13 years, the Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second quarter and never trailed in the game as Wesleyan squeezed out a 7-6 victory at Amherst Wed., March 27. Combined with Wesleyan's opening-day home win over Williams, 7-6, the Cardinals have now had at least a share of the Little Three crown in 11 of the last 13 seasons.
Mike Giambanco '14 (#21, photo lower left) got Wesleyan off to a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals just 42 seconds apart in the first five minutes of the contest. His first goal was a bounced from the right side while his second came from the left side. Giambanco more than doubled his scoring for the year as he completed the game with four tallies, giving him seven on the year. When Remy Lieberman '14 picked up a loose ball and netted his team-leading 11th of the year at 9:27, Wesleyan had a 3-0 lead before the game was six minutes old. Niall Devaney '16 converted an Aidan Daniell '14 pass into a man-up goal at 11:58 of the second quarter, spotting Wesleyan a 4-0 bulge.
Amherst took control of the scoring for the next 15 minutes and knotted the game at 4-4 with 12:48 left in the third period. Long-pole middle Brendan Hanley '13 gave the Cardinals back the lead with a fast-break low shot at 10:47 of the third period, and Wesleyan carried its 5-4 lead into the final period, Giambanco finished off his hat trick at 13:53 to make it 6-4. Amherst refused to quit and narrowed the margin to 6-5 with 12:29 left. More than seven minutes passed before Giambanco's fourth goal of the game on another low bouncer from the left side made it 7-5 with 4:51 on the clock. When Amherst made it a 7-6 game at 3:30, the outcome came down to the wire.
Wesleyan won the faceoff and ran 1:30 off the clock before Amherst regained possession. Wesleyan got the ball back but turned it over in the Amherst end with 1:30 left. After Amherst maintained possession for a minute, Wesleyan forced another turnover and Mike Robinson '13 picked up his fifth ground ball of the game. Still, Amherst got a final oportunity with :15 to go, but the Wesleyan defense did not allow the Lord Jeffs to get off a shot and time expired with the ball rolling free behind the Cardinal net. Sam Stanton '13 led the Cardinals with seven grounders in the game while Lieberman, along with Robinson, had five.
Wesleyan keeper Mark Simmons '14 (#11, photo lower right) made seven saves in the game as Wesleyan held a slim 35-30 edge in total shots. Wesleyan has now defeated Amherst 15 times in the last 16 meetings of the squads.
Wesleyan was at home for its next game, a non-conference outing vs. Gordon Sat., March 30. Meeting for just the second time ever and the first time in 15 years, Wesleyan made short work of Gordon, taking a 15-1 decision. Wesleyan outshot its visitor, 45-12, as Lieberman paced the Cardinal attack with three goals and two assists. Prezioso and David Murphy '15 chipped in with four-point games as Prezioso had a hat trick and one helper while Murphy added a goal and three assists. The three comprise the Wesleyan starting attack, accounting for seven goals and six assists while playing less than half the contest.
Wesleyan built a 5-0 lead 7:33 into the game as Lieberman had a pair of goals and an assist while Murphy had a goal and two assists and Prezioso a goal and an assist. Wesleyan led 8-0 after one period and 11-0 at halftime. The margin grew to 14-0 in the third period before Gordon got on the board with its only goal at the 1:29 mark of the third. Wesleyan got the last goal from Quentin DellaFera '15 early in the fourth quarter.
Simmons played the first period but faced no shots on goal. JD Dieterich '13 played the final 45 minutes and recorded six saves.
Wesleyan was back in action Wed., April 3, traveling to SUNY Farmingdale for another non-conference tilt. Wesleyan improved to 4-0 in non-conference play in 2013 with a 16-3 win. Wesleyan is 7-0 all-time vs. Farmingdale as has now outscored its non-NESCAC foes by a collective 67-6 score this season.
Wesleyan ran out to a 6-0 lead after the first period and scored the opening eight goals of the game before settling for a 9-2 halftime edge. Wesleyan outscored its host, 7-1, in the second half. Hanley, who had a key goal in the win vs. Amherst, had a career-high four goals in the contest to lead the offense despite being a long-pole middie. Graham Macnab '14, DellaFera, and Stephen Dodd '15 all had two goals in the contest. In all, 13 Cardinals got in on the scoring. Wesleyan produced a 45-23 shot margin.
Simmons covered the net for the first half, making two saves, while Dieterich played the final 30 minutes, making eight saves. He now has a phenominal .913 save percentage in 127 minutes of action with a .94 goals-against average, having made 21 stops with just two goals allowed. Wesleyan leads the nation in goals-against average, now yielding just 4.22 goals per game. The Cardinals also kill 94 percent of their penalties, which also leads Division III.