The men’s hockey team started the season tentatively, with two losses, and then grabbed wins over Babson College and St. Michael’s College.
The team opened its season on Nov. 16 with a tough loss against NESCAC rival Hamilton. The Continentals had managed to build a 2-0 lead going into the third period, but the Mammoths found their stride in the final frame.
On a power play, senior captain Phil Johansson ’19 found the back of the net with just under 10 minutes remaining in the period, assisted by Nick Bondra ’21 and P.J. Conlon ’20.
Although Hamilton rebounded quickly to regain a two-goal advantage, Johansson refused to give in, collecting his second goal of the season off a beautiful pass from A.J. Klein ’20 late in the third period.
However, despite the the ferocious comeback and a heroic 19-save effort from goaltender Giancarlo Ventre ’20, the Mammoths were unable to find the elusive third goal, losing 3-2.
There was no time for Amherst to wallow in despair after the season-opening loss, however, as the team returned to the ice four days later for a Tuesday evening matchup against St. Michael’s College.
Looking for the Mammoths’ first win of the season, Joey Lupo ’20 opened the floodgates for Amherst just three minutes into the opening period off assists from Mark Esposito ’20 and Nick Bondra ’21. In the second period, Conlon found Bondra who ripped a shot that was redirected by Patrick Daly ’20 through the goalie’s legs to increase the lead to 2-0.
Less than 10 minutes later, Daly fired a rebound through the Purple Knights’ netminder’s legs to give the Mammoths a comfortable lead going into the third period of play.
Although St. Michael’s managed a consolation goal with three minutes left in regulation, Amherst walked off the ice with its first win of the season.
After the weekday win, the Mammoths returned to action for a pair of games this past weekend.
The Mammoths faced State University of New York Geneseo and Babson College. Against Geneseo on Saturday, Esposito’s first goal of the season was Amhert’s only tallied of the day in a tough 4-1 loss, in which Ventre made 32 saves.
Less than 24 hours later, the Mammoths hit the road for the short trip to Babson, where they hoped to return to their winning ways.
Although the team found themselves down 1-0 in the first period, Steven Mallory ’19 found the back of the net on a beautiful shot halfway through the second period.
With the score knotted at one goal apiece headed into the third period, Lupo rocketed a one-timer into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal off a pass from Bondra.
Jack Lloyd ’21 added to the Amherst lead with a well-placed shot off a faceoff that proved to be the winning goal for the Mammoths.
Although Amherst again conceded a late goal, the stellar play of Michael Cullen ’21, who had 31 saves in net, clinched the 3-2 win for the Mammoths.
Amherst will return to action this Friday, Nov. 30 for a home contest against Little Three rival Wesleyan.