After dropping a 3-1 decision to Trinity on Saturday night, the men’s hockey team earned a split of its home doubleheader with a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Wesleyan on Sunday, led by freshman Tyler Voigt, who had a hat-trick and scored the Jumbos’ game-winning goal in overtime.
With the split decision, the Jumbos moved to 5-5 in the NESCAC, and stand at a solid fifth place in conference standings. Their 7-7-1 overall record is also a marked improvement from last winter, when they stood at 4-10-1 at this point in the season.
In the first period, Voigt kicked off the Jumbos’ scoring efforts with a tally at the 11:23 mark, capitalizing on the first of Tufts’ four successful power plays on the afternoon. A minute later, Cardinals sophomore Nik Tasiopoulos notched a goal of his own to even the score, but with 16 seconds remaining in the period, Voigt struck again to regain the Jumbos’ one-goal margin entering the break.
Halfway through the second period, senior tri-captain Matt Amico scored his second goal of the weekend, also on a power play, to double the Jumbos’ advantage. Four minutes later, however, Wesleyan’s Keith Buehler knocked in a goal to pull the Cardinals within one at the 14:03 mark.
Entering the final period of regulation, Tufts led Wesleyan 3-2, but the Cardinals scored two quick goals to send the Jumbos reeling. At the 8:22 mark, Wesleyan junior John Guay tied the game, and riding the momentum of Guay’s score, senior Geoff Mucha polished off a goal just 13 seconds later to give the Cardinals their first lead of the contest.
With fewer than five minutes remaining, however, junior forward Dylan Plimmer helped the Jumbos back into contention with a score at the 16:39 mark, and the tie held as regulation expired.
With 39 seconds remaining in the overtime period, however, the Cardinals’ own costly mistake opened a door of opportunity for Tufts. Wesleyan was called for too many players on the ice, and Voigt capitalized on the Jumbos’ fourth and final power play to clinch the game-winning goal with 18 seconds remaining.
The previous evening, Tufts hosted Trinity in the season’s first “Fan the Fire” event. The NESCAC showdown, which was highly attended and featured a fan bus and special “Pink in the Rink” festivities for breast cancer research and awareness, however, was far from a party for the host Jumbos who fell 3-1 to the Bantams in a physical matchup that saw 15 combined penalties.
Despite a 35-save effort from Tufts senior keeper Scott Barchard, Trinity overpowered the Jumbos, who were much less successful on power plays than they were the following afternoon. Against the Bantams, the Jumbos went zero for six on power plays, and never got a handle on Trinity’s fiery offense.
In the first period, Barchard and Trinity keeper Ben Coulthard combined for 33 saves, and the Bantams’ Jackson Brewer was the only player on either side who was able to find the back of the net in the opening period, with a score at the 11:03 mark.
Just a minute into the second period, Trinity doubled its lead on a score from junior Jeff Menard, who had a goal and an assist in the contest. Fewer than two minutes later, however, Amico scored his first goal of the weekend to pull the Jumbos within one. Both sides killed four penalties in the second period, and Tufts entered the third period trailing Trinity 2-1.
Midway through the final period, however, junior Jordon So capped off Trinity’s efforts with a notch at the 13:49 mark, again extending the Bantams’ lead to two, and the Jumbos were unable to pull closer, even after pulling Barchard in the final minutes, and Trinity prevailed, winning the decision by a two-goal margin.
Next weekend, however, the Jumbos can improve their NESCAC standing with strong performances against conference opponents Williams and Middlebury in an away doubleheader. The Ephs and Panthers stand just above the Jumbos at third and fourth in the conference, respectively, and victories over both teams would send a strong statement to the rest of the league and put the Jumbos above .500 for the first time since Dec. 3, when Tufts dropped consecutive 4-1 and 3-2 decisions to Williams and Middlebury.
- by Kate Klots