Down two men due to a pair of penalties with :35 left in overtime, Wesleyan forced a Hamilton turnover in the Cardinals' defensive end and turned it into a fast break, resulting in Quentin DellaFera's '15 (#12, photo) third goal of the game with just :04 remaining to make an instant 12-11 winner of the Cardinals in their season opener at Hamilton Sat., March 1. Wesleyan had enjoyed as much as a five-goal cushion in the contest before surrendering the lead late in the game. As a result, Wesleyan needed a goal by Nate Ryan '15 with :58 left in the fourth period to force the contest into overtime.
Wesleyan used a four-goal flurry in the first quarter to make a 5-1 lead into the second period. DellaFera got Wesleyan on the board first at 9:29. After Hamilton knotted the count, another DellaFera marker, followed by two Matt Prezioso '15 tallies and one by Lyle Mitchell '16 spotted the Cardinals a 5-1 margin. When Graham Macnab '14 opened the scoring in the second quarter, Wesleyan held a 6-1 lead and took a 7-3 margin into halftime.
Hamilton outscored Wesleyan, 3-2, in the third period as the Cardinals still carried a comfortable 9-6 gap into the fourth quarter. Four Continental goals in a span of 5:58 gave the host its first lead of the contest, 10-9, with 7:26 remaining. Ryan's first goal of the quarter evened the count at 10-10 before Hamilton regained the lead, 11-10, at the 1:51 mark. His second knotted the game and gave him four points on the day.
After the two penalties were called late in overtime, Hamilton had the ball in the Wesleyan zone. Defender Elliot Albert '14 knocked down a Continental pass and defender Bennett Sluis '14 scooped up the ball. He fed ahead to Mitchell who headed up field, then located DellaFera behind the Hamilton defense on the right. He lofted a pass over the defense that caught DellaFera in stride and he raced to the goal, firing a low shot inside the left post for the victory. Watch the game-winning goal below, or click < here > to view on YouTube.
Hamilton generated a slim 41-39 edge in total shots as Cardinal keeper Mark Simmons '14 posted 8 saves. Wesleyan had 22 shots on goal while Hamilton managed 19.
Prezioso also finished the game with a hat trick for the Cardinals while Mitchell joined Ryan with two goals and two assist. Macnab chipped in with two goal and an assist.
Wesleyan traveled to RPI Wed., March 5 for its next contest, a non-league battle with the Engineers. Wesleyan again got off to a fabulous start, pushing out to a 6-1 lead in the second period, just like at Hamilton. This time , however, the Cardinal defense, behind seven saves from Simmons in 52 minutes of work, remained rock solid. The lead grew to 9-1 at the start of the fourth quarter before RPI netted the final two goals in the 9-3 Wesleyan win. WEsleyan, ranked ninth nationally in Division III to start the week, got three goals from DellaFera for his second hat trick of the year. This time is was a natural hat trick over a span of 9:19 during the second period, part of a 7-0 run starting at the end of the first period and carrying through the third period. Prezioso aded two goals and an assist while Macnab tallied a pair of goals.
Wesleyan returns to NESCAC play Sat., March 8, hosting Bates in a game slated for a webcast.