Playing one of their finest
games of the season, rivaled only by their outstanding 6-2 win over
nationally ranked Williams, the Cardinal defeated Colby, 5-1, Fri., Feb.
12 for only the second time in history, but also the second year in a
row after going 0-18-2 the first 20 times the teams met. Last year,
Wesleyan pulled out a 2-1 triumph over the Mules.
Wesleyan exploded for four goals in the second period and added an empty-net goal with 27 seconds left while yielded just one goal late in the second period. The Cardinals got started just 1:18 into the middle period following a scoreless, penalty-free first period. Don Kleckner '13 (#19, photo insert upper right by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com) redirected a shot from the slot by Tom Salah '12 past the Colby netminder for the 1-0 edge. Kleckner would later add the empty-net goal in the final minute of the contest to give him four tallies on the year.
It took Wesleyan more than 10 minutes to light the lamp again but Woody Redpath '10 made it 2-0 as he fired a shot from high on the right into a literally open net at the 11:56 mark for his first goal of the year. The Colby goalie had come out to play a loose puck and ended up going down when a Colby defender and a Cardinal forward caused a bit of contact with the goalie in the right circle. Just 1:14 later, Wesleyan owned a 3-0 edge when Anthony DePietto '11 threw the puck at the net from a sharp angle on the left which hit the back of the Colby goalie and ended up in the net at 13:08, giving DePietto his fourth goal of the campaign. Wesleyan concluded the run with a goal from Adam Kaiser '13 at 16:23 as he snapped off a high shot past McKinney from the inside portion of the right circle after he received a faceoff draw from Sam Robinson '10, who got the assist. It was the fifth goal of the year for Kaiser.
Colby prevented Wesleyan goalie Matt Hadge '13 (#33, main photo) from posting his first career shutout when a Wesleyan defensive miscue left the puck for the Mules inside the Wesleyan blue line and the Mules capitalized at 17:12 of the second frame. Hadge ended the game with 16 saves while allowing the lone goal in upping his seasonal record to 2-4.
The teams had just one penalty whistled down in the game, that early in the second stanza against Wesleyan.
While Wesleyan had reason to celebrate following its win, the bad news came later on when Tufts rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the third period to defeat the U. of New England, 4-2. That gave Tufts a seven-point lead in the standings for the eighth and final spot in the NESCAC playoffs with three games to play. Thus, Wesleyan was eliminated from playoff contention.
In the final home game of the year Sat., Feb. 13, Wesleyan kept in close with NESCAC leader Bowdoin for more than 50 minutes, trailing just 2-1 entering the final 10 minutes. But a pair of Polar Bear goals just 20 seconds apart at 10:33 and 10:53 put the visitors up 4-1. Though the Cards got one back with 4:10 to go from Brett Bandazian '12, Bowdoin added an empty net goal in the last two minutes for the 5-2 victory.
Chris MacDonald '13 had the Cardinals' first goal which tied the game 1-1 late in the first period. Tim Archibald '10 collected 34 saves in the contest as Bowdoin had a nearly 2-to-1 ratio in shots (39-20).
The Cardinals closed out the year on the road during the final weekend of the season, visiting Southern Maine Fri., Feb. 19 and finishing up at U. of New England Sat., Feb. 20.
At USM, Wesleyan got behind early as the Huskies scored less than two minutes into the game. The lead grew to 4-0 late in the third period despite an evenly played contest in term of shots, 20 apiece. Wesleyan got on the board as Salah and A.J. Ferraro '12 hooked up to make Robinson's fifth goal of the year possible with 4:22 left, but that's how the game ended, 4-1 in favor of the host.
The final contest at UNE stood 1-1 going into the second period but UNE did all the scoring from that point on, adding five goals for a 6-1 win in the first-ever meeting of the teams. The final goal of the year for the Cards came off the stick of Ryan White '13. Archibald handled the net, making 24 saves. Salah ended the year as the Cardinals' top scorer with 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points. He paced the squad in all three offensive categories.