Inaugurating his Wesleyan career in a remarkable fashion by scoring two goals and adding three assists, Elliott Vorel '17 (#9, main photo) was the key to the Cardinals' 5-4 victory over Tufts on the opening day of the 2013-14 season Fri., Nov. 15. The triumph ended a two-year winless streak against the Jumbos as the Cardinals were 0-3-1 against Tufts over the last two campaigns. The only other NESCAC team the Cardinals had failed to beat over the previous two seasons was Amherst. Vorel, who added a pair of goals in Wesleyan's 5-2 victory over Conn. College to close out the NESCAC weekend, was honored by the NESCAC as its Player of the Week.
Vorel put home the game-winner with just :04 left in the third period, sliding the puck into an open right-hand side after a flurry in front of the Tufts net. Keith Buehler '14 and Tommy Hartnett '14 were peppering the goal with initial shots and earned assists on the play. For Buehler, it was his third point of the game on a goal and two helpers.
Wesleyan trailed just once in the game, down 3-2 late in the second period before Vorel's first goal of the game with 1:13 to go in the middle stanza evened the count at 3-3. Brad Improta '14 set the play in motion with a mid-ice interception and feed to Vorel for the fast-break tally. Midway through the final frame, Wesleyan regained the lead on a power-play marker by Hartnett, assisted by Buehler and Vorel. Tufts evened the score at 4-4 with 7:04 to play.
In the Cardinal net, Nolan Daley '16 made 24 saves, 11 of them in the middle stanza. Wesleyan outshot Tufts in both the first and third periods and held a 33-28 edge at game's end.
Vorel netted the final two goals for Wesleyan vs. Conn while Hartnett had the first two in the 5-2 decision. James Kline '17 scored the game-winning goal less than a minute after Conn had evened the count at 2-2 in the second period. Scoring through traffic in front of the Camel net off assists by Nick Malone '17 and Connor Ryan '15 at 5:02 of the middle period, Kline registered his first goal of the season. Vorel scored the insurance goal at 12:15 of the second period off a rebound with assists to Hartnett, who posted a three-point game, and Cole Morrissette '17, made it 4-2. With the Camel keeper on the bench in favor of an extra skater late in the contest, Vorel got control of the puck in center ice and turned around to fire the puck into an empty net with 1:09 remaining on the clock. It was his fourth goal of the young season to go along with three assists. Hartnett had spotted Wesleyan leads of 1-0 and 2-1 with his first-period markers as he now has five points on the season with three goals and a pair of helpers.
Starting the first game of his career in goal, Dawson Spriging '17 (#1, photo insert upper left) turned aside 36 Conn shots in a solid effort minding the Wesleyan net, giving him a .947 save percentage to begin the year.
Wesleyan got back to action Sat., Nov. 23, visiting Hamilton to begin another NESCAC weekend that finished up at Amherst Sun., Nov. 24. Penalties proved to be Wesleyan's undoing as Hamilton netted five power-play goals on its way to an 8-5 victory. Vorel continued his hot hand with a goal and two assists, giving him 10 points in three games thus far. Jay Matthews '16 had a pair of goals for the Cardinals, who tried to dig themselves out of a 7-3 hole with two late goals to narrow the gap to 8-5, but a misplay on a Wesleyan power play resulted in Hamilton's eighth goal short-handed with 2:14 left to seal the outcome. Hamilton generated a 41-25 edge in shots while ending a six-game winless streak vs. Wesleyan. The Cardinals came into the contest 5-0-1 vs. Hamilton over the last three seasons.
At Amherst, Vorel extended his point-scoring streak to each of his four career games by assisting on Hartnett's fourth goal of the season at 6:30 of the first period, tying the game at 1-1. But the Lord Jeffs took the lead for good at 16:01 of the frame and added a goal in both the second and third period to take a 4-1 win. Buehler also had an assist on the Cardinal goal. Sprigings covered the net and had 28 saves as shots favored the Lord Jeffs, 32-25.
Wesleyan moves out of conference for its next contest, traveling to Stonehill Tues., Nov. 26.