Keith Buelher '14 & Donald Kleckner '13 Pace Potent Attack as Men's Ice Hockey Sweeps Series with Conn, Then Ties Tufts
Keith Buehler '14 (#13, main photo) and Donald Kleckner '13 (#19, photo insert upper right) paced a potent Wesleyan attack with a goal and two assists apiece as the Cardinals swept the season series against Conn. College by capturing a 7-2 decision Fri., Jan. 18. The teams inaugurated the year against each other in New London back on Nov. 16 with Wesleyan taking a 5-2 win. Wesleyan extended its current unbeaten streak vs. the Camels to six games (4-0-2) despite trailing in the long-standing all-time series, 20-34-3. Wesleyan was back on the ice Sat., Jan. 19, hosting Tufts to close out its home NESCAC weekend. The teams came away with a 2-2 deadlock.
Wesleyan got off to a fast start against Conn, scoring a pair of goals just 18 seconds apart for a 2-0 lead by the time the game was 2:03 old. Jay Matthews '16 did the honors on the first goal, taking a pass up the right side and skating hard into the Camels zone for a one-on-one situation against the Camels' starting keeper. Matthews won the battle as he slipped the puck just inside the left post. Derek Collins '14 upped the margin to 2-0 with a goal in tight 18 ticks later and the period ended 2-0 in Wesleyan's favor.
The Cardinals again opened scoring early in the second period as Kleckner scored on the power play in close on the left after receiving a pass from low on the right by Nick Craven '13. With the assist, his first of two in the contest, Craven extended his point-scoring string to 12 straight games. Another power-play goal at 6:06, this time on a point shot by Buehler off a pass from the left circle by Tommy Hartnett '14, made it 4-0. The final Wesleyan goal of the period came from John Guay '13 at 7:45 on a good individual effort out of the right corner to set up a shot in front. Scoring the first goals of their careers for the Cardinals were Alex Carlacci '16 and Connor Ryan '15 in the third period.
Conn got on the board with the first of its two power-play goals, scoring at 14:44 of the second off a rebound after an initial save by Wesleyan keeper Glenn Stowell '13, who finished with 15 saves. The Camels ended the day's scoring at 16:16 of the third scoring from a sharp angle 16 seconds before the end of Wesleyan's final penalty. Each team was whistled down just four times in the contest and each was 2-for-3 with the advantage.
Against Tufts, Craven netted his second goal of the game with 10:10 remaining in the third period, redirecting a shot off the Tufts goalie in front during a Cardinal power play, to even the score at 2-2. The score remained unchanged for the final 15:10 of action, giving visiting Tufts the season series against Wesleyan with a 1-0-1 mark this season. Wesleyan upped its current unbeaten streak this year to four (3-0-1) but the Cardinals have had little luck vs. the Jumbos over the last four seasons as Tufts stands 4-1-1 vs. Wesleyan over the last six meetings. The all-time series record is dead even at 15-15-1.
Tufts erased a 1-0 first-period deficit with a pair of goals just 1:46 apart midway through the second period. The tying goal came short-handed on a wrister past Nolan Daley '16 before the Jumbos finished off a fast break at 10:36 of the middle stanza, giving Tufts a 2-1 edge it held for 20 minutes.
Wesleyan had led 1-0 when Craven scored his 11th of the year with 5:03 left in the opening stanza, slipping the puck paste Jumbo keeper after going in one-on-one. Craven's 12th of the year pushed the game into overtime. Craven has now picked up at least one scoring point in each of the last 13 games for Wesleyan.
The Cardinals appeared to have the winner in overtime with :41 left when Buehler found the inside of the net with a shot from the near side of the left circle but an official waived off the goal, claiming the net had dislodged just before the goal was scored. The Tufts goalie was the cause of the net moving from its usual spot.
Tufts generated a slight 36-33 edge in shots on goal as Daley finished with 34 saves.
Ahead for Wesleyan is the first of four straight NESCAC road games, beginning with a venture to Amherst Fri., Jan. 25.