Jeff Landers '09
Sophomore Jeff Landers scored his fourth goal of the year, and brought his points total to 20.

Jeffs Fall to Williams at Home 3-2

By Alex Kantor

February 16, 2007

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s ice hockey team faced NESCAC and Little Three archrival Williams College this evening in a crucial conference match-up at Orr Rink. Amherst ultimately fell 3-2 to the Ephs, but skated hard in the first night of the regular season’s final weekend.

Amherst, ranked just outside the USCHO top-15 this week, entered the rivalry game with hopes of improving on its already stellar regular season record. The Lord Jeffs would be able to strengthen their bid to host an opening round NESCAC Tournament game with one or more wins in the final weekend of regular season play.

The visiting Ephs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first period after Amherst goaltender Josh Fillman (Charlestown, MA) made a nice save on a breakaway, but was unable to keep the bouncing puck from being batted into the Amherst net by Matt Draheim.

Amherst refused to be pushed around on their home ice and found the net for an equalizer when senior defender Brandon Zangel (Highlands Ranch, CO) set up sophomore Jeff Landers (Hanover, MA) for a wicked slap shot from the point. The low flying laser shot was Lander’s fourth goal of the season, bringing his points total to 20.

Williams nabbed the third goal of the game to take a 2-1 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the first period on a nice finish from Will Bruce, who rattled home the score off the post of Fillman’s net. With just 0:46 showing on the clock, Amherst was whistled for illegal contact to the head, setting up the game’s first power-play for the Ephs.

Williams was unable to improve on their 2-1 lead as the power play ran out to start the second period, as Amherst dodged the early bullet. Amherst returned the favor as it was held scoreless on its first power play five minutes into the second frame.

The Ephs jumped to a 3-1 lead seven minutes into the second stanza when Alex Smigelski scored a beautiful goal after streaking down the right wing past a Jeff defender. Amherst looked to gain some momentum late in the second period, and on the ensuing face-off after Williams goaltender Marc Pulde robbed junior Greg Adamo (Manalapan, NJ) from the slot, senior Trevor Calamel (Lockport, NY) brought Amherst within a goal on a deep blast.

Just a few seconds after the Calamel goal, play resulted in a man-advantage situation for the Jeffs. As the Williams penalty expired, Colin Greenhalgh released from the penalty box and was hit streaking in on Fillman, who was ultimately up for the challenge.

The first half of the third period featured a fast-paced style of play, with Amherst dominating the run of play. The Jeffs were unable to capitalize on a pair of power play chances, and seemed stuck on a 3-2 deadlock at the 10:00 minute mark.

The Ephs, seemingly content with the possibility of a 3-2 win, appeared to try and slow the game’s pace down, icing the puck at every chance and lofting wrist shots on net from the blue line, while Amherst pushed its offense and put heavy pressure on Pulde.

With just one minute remaining in regulation, and Amherst’s hopes of a big win in front of a raucous crowd dwindling, head coach Jack Arena pulled Fillman and called a timeout to bring on an extra skater. The strategy would prove efficient but not effective, as time ran out.

Amherst moves to 13-8-1 (10-7-1) with the loss, while Williams improves to 7-12-2 (8-8-2) with the win. The Jeffs return to the ice tomorrow afternoon when they host 13th-ranked Middlebury College for a 3 p.m. start.