Hartford, Conn. – Junior forward Ryan Pfeffer (Canton, Mass.) scored the first two of five unanswered goals to lead the Trinity College Bantams back from a 2-0 deficit and to a 5-2 victory against the visiting Williams College Ephs in the semifinals of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Tournament this afternoon at Williams Rink in the Koeppel Community Sports Center. Two-time defending NESCAC Champion Trinity, seeded No. 1 in the tournament and ranked No. 4 in the nation, improves to 19-5-2 and will entertain the No. 6-seeded Colby College Mules in the NESCAC Finals tomorrow at 2 p.m. No. 7-seeded Williams closes the year with a 14-11-1 record. Colby upended Wesleyan, 5-1, in the other semifinal today in Hartford.
Trinity trailed, 2-0, in the first period after Eph goals by freshman forward Tyler Scott (Bloomington, Minn.) and junior forward Marcus Mollica (Dove Canyon, Calif.). Scott’s goal came just 1:45 into the contest, and Mollica scored on a rebound after Trinity senior goaltender Alex Morin (St. Hubert, Quebec) had made a diving save on a shot from the left wing by sophomore defenseman Max Fuld Westport, Conn.) with 8:18 on the clock. Pfeffer stuffed in a redirected shot from the point by rookie defenseman Michael Grande (West Chester, Pa.) that ignited Trinity’s 5-0 run. Bantam first-year forward Eric Benshadle (Getzville, N.Y.) also assisted on the play. The Ephs maintained their lead into the first break despite a 13-to-5 shooting deficit, but Pfeffer tieds at 2-all just 29 seconds into the second frame on a tally from sophomores defensemen Nick Fiorentino (Hartsdale, N.Y.) and Liam Feeney (Foxboro, Mass.).
Bantam sophomore forward Andy Chugg (Mesa, Ariz.) scored the eventual game-winner on a rebound of a shot by classmate Adam Anderson (Hugo, Minn.) in transition just under two minutes later, while Trinity first-year blue liner James Callahan (Gladstone, N.J.) added a goal from senior captain forward Anthony Sabitsky (Sicklerville, N.J.) with 4:35 left before the final break. The home team again dominated play with a 20-to-4 shooting edge in the second period. Trinity senior forward Tyler Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.) redirected a Feeney slapshot for the lone goal of the third stanza.
Morin finished with 14 saves, while Michael Pinios (Laval, Quebec) and Stephen Morrissey (Arlington, Va.) combined for 35 Williams stops. The team combined for just five penalties and neither team scored on any power plays. Trinity finished with a 40-to-16 shooting advantage and gets past Williams in the NESCAC Semifinals for the second year in a row. The Bantams will be seeking their fifth league title and playing in their seventh NESCAC title game tomorrow.