Men's Hockey to Host Williams
in Saturday's NESCAC Qtrs.|
February 23, 2001
NESCAC Tournament Quarterfinals -- Saturday, February 24, 2001
#7 Williams College (9-14-1) at #2 Men's Ice Hockey (16-4-3), Orr Rink, 3:00 p.m.
AMHERST, Mass. - Throughout their recent run of success, including their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament in 1999, the Amherst College men's ice hockey team has never been able to escape the most annoying thorn in its side - arch-rival Williams College. The Ephs had owned the Jeffs in men's ice hockey until this season, with the last Amherst victory coming on December 9, 1996. During Amherst's stellar 1998-99 campaign, one of their three losses came at Williams' hands, and last year the Ephs defeated the Jeffs twice, including a season-ending 2-1 loss in the NESCAC Quarterfinals in Williamstown last February 26.
|Darce Swaggert '01 scored|
the first two goals of the
game in Amherst's 3-2 win at
Williams last Saturday
However, the tables are turned this season, as the Ephs are an uncharacteristic 9-14-1, while Amherst is 16-4-3 overall and is ranked sixth in the country in this week's U.S. College Hockey Online poll. The Jeffs began to exorcise some of their demons last Saturday with a 3-2 victory in Williamstown, the first-ever win for the Amherst senior class against the Ephs. However, the victory merely earned the Jeffs the right to a rematch today against Williams in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC Tournament.
If the Ephs hope to advance, they will need to find a way to stop a red-hot Amherst squad that has won their last four games, and has only one loss in its last 13 contests. The Jeffs are led by senior defensemen Jim Smith (Rochester, MN) and Darce Swaggert (Wayzata, MN). Smith is the fourth leading scorer in the conference with 12 goals and 22 assists, while Swaggert scored the first two Amherst goals against the Ephs. Senior goaltender Nick Rieser (Northfield, IL) has been stellar between the pipes, ranking fourth in the country in goals against average (2.03/game) and ninth in save percentage (.922), and was named the National Defensive Player of the Week on February 14. The Jeff offense is anchored by junior forward Bob Miele (Woburn, MA), who has scored nine of his 13 goals on power plays, ranking him eighth in the nation in that category, while linemate Greg Carr (Hanover, MA) has added 10 goals and 16 assists.
The Ephs have had few bright spots this season, and come in as losers of their last five, and have only two wins in their last 11 games. However, senior captain Bobby Moss (North Reading, MA) has shone for Williams this season, as his 24 goals rank him fourth in the country in goals per game, while fellow senior forwards Joseph Butler (Norwell, MA) and Ryan Crisp (Capreol, Ontario) have combined for 42 points. Sophomore Michael Aroesty (Rochester, NY) and first-year Benjamin Fash (St. Stephen, New Brunswick) have split time in net this season for Williams, with Fash stopping 39 of the 42 Jeff blasts that he faced the last time the two teams met.
The winner of Saturday's quarterfinal advances to next weekend's semifinals and finals at top-seeded Middlebury College. A Williams win would guarantee an Eph-Panther pairing in one of next Friday's semifinals. Amherst, because it is the two seed, could end up facing any of the other remaining teams, except for Middlebury. No matter who advances from this game, only one thing is certain - it will have been a hard-fought effort. Five of the last seven Amherst-Williams ice hockey matchups have been decided by one goal, and all have been decided by two goals or less, with two of the games needing overtime to decide a winner.
Ticket prices for Saturday's NESCAC Quarterfinal Game, as proscribed by league policies, are $3 for general admission and $1 for students with proper I.D. and all children under the age of 18. Media personnel wishing to obtain credentials should contact Kevin Graber, Amherst Sports Information Director either via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (413) 542-2390.