Coming within 40 seconds of posting his first career shutout, Dawson Sprigings '17 (#1, photo insert upper right) made 31 saves to anchor the Cardinals' defense in a much needed 3-1 NESCAC victory at Tufts Sat., Jan. 25. The win gave Wesleyan a sweep of the season series, having opened the year with a 5-4 conquering of the Jumbos. Wesleyan concluded its NESCAC weekend at Conn. College Sun., Jan. 26. The defensive battle went to overtime and a power-play goal turned the outcome Conn's way 2-1.
Keith Buehler '14 (#13, main photo), back on the ice after sitting out the better part of two games, made his presence felt by putting the Cardinals ahead to stay at 13:28 of the first period with Jaren Taenaka '16 and Elliott Vorel '17 getting thre assists. At 4:54 of the middle frame, the first goal of the year by Brad Improta '14, to go along with his four assists, upped the Cardinals' edge to 2-0. Quincy Oujevolk '17 and Jay Matthews '16 were in on the play, garnering assists.
Wesleyan carried the two-goal margin in the closing moments of the third period, but the Jumbos, with their goalie on the bench for the sixth attacker, got a point shot through a screen past Sprigings to spoil his shutout bid at the 19:20 mark. Thirty-seven seconds later, Buehler found the empty net for his eighth goal of the year, clinching the triumph that ended Wesleyan's four-game NESCAC skid.
Shots in the game were just about even, favoring Wesleyan by a slim 33-32 margin. Wesleyan had been 0-3-1 vs. Tufts since the NESCAC adopted its home-and-away double-round robin format during the 2011-12 season. Thus, the two wins in 2013-14 was a welcome change to recent fortunes.
At Conn, Sprigings had another solid effort, turning aside 32 Camel scoring bids before a penalty that spilled over from the last minute of regulation led to Conn's game-winning pwer-play marker 42 seconds into the extra period. The Camels had drown first blood with a first-period man-up goal just 3:05 into the contest. Wesleyan got the equalizer at 1:28 of the middle stanza when Jaren Taenaka '16 picked up a deflection off a Camel skate and fed Elliott Vorel '17 for his team-leading 12th goal of the year. Conn had a 34-25 edge in shots but the each team managed just one goal in regulation.
The Cardinals will be at home for their next NESCAC weekend, hosting Hamilton Sat., Feb. 1, followed by a Little Three tilt vs. Amherst Sun., Feb. 2. The Amherst game will be webcast.