Scoring three goals in a span of 3:18 late in the second period, homestanding Wesleyan extended a 1-0 margin to a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes of action and went on to defeat Norwich, ranked third nationally in Division III, 5-2, Fri., Jan. 21. It was just the second victory for the Cardinals over the Cadets in 18 all-time meetings. The first came in 2007 when Wesleyan handed Norwich a 4-1 loss in Middletown, Conn. Last year on their way to a National Championship, the Cadets downed the Cardinals, 8-0, in Northfield, Vt.
While keeper Matt Hadge '13 (#33, main photo), who was named NESCAC Player of the Week, was making 47 stops for Wesleyan, the Cardinals got goals from John Guay '13 at 16:01 of the second period, Adam Kaiser '13 at 16:34 and Geoff Mucha '12 (#6, photo insert upper right) at 19:19 to pull out to a four goal margin after Anthony DePietto '11 (#10, photo insert upper left) spotted the home squad a 1-0 lead at 4:27 on a bit of a fluke. The Norwich goalie had come well out of the net, seemingly thinking the raised arm of a referee was indicating a delayed Wesleyan penalty, while in fact it registered a delayed offside. Wesleyan cleared and the puck came loose on the left side where DePietto collared it and fired into an open net from beyond the circle for his third goal of the season.
Guay also scored his third goal of the campaign, poking the puck past the flattened glove of the Cadet netminder who was trying to tie up the puck in the crease. Kaiser whistled a shot from the right circle long side to make it 3-0 with his second goal of the year and Mucha finished the flurry by redirecting a central point shot by Chris MacDonald '13 on the power play. For Mucha, it was goal number four on the season.
Norwich got a pair of third-period markers, sandwiching the final Wesleyan goal from top scorer Nik Tasiopoulos '14. After the Cadets on the board at 7:55 with a smoker from the right circle just one second after a Wesleyan penalty expired, the Cardinals responded 13 seconds later as Tasiopolous worked his way from right to left on a rush and lifted a backhander in to the net at 8:08, giving him five goals on the season. The final tally of the game for Norwich came at 12:30 on a long slap shot from the blue line that went through the pads of Hadge.
Norwich, which skated up a man for a total of 10:26 and had a two-man advantage for 1:24 during the contest without as power-play goal, outshot Wesleyan, 49-20. Hadge logged his fourth straight start with 30 or more saves and came one stop shy of his career high, set Jan. 2 vs. Amherst when he posted 48 saves. With a .943 save percentage, Hadge leads the NESCAC and ranks second nationally in Division III.
Wesleyan made it three in a row vs. Vermont colleges after downing St. Michael’s, Saturday, Jan. 22, 6-2, to close out its home league weekend. It was the first time the Cardinals captured both games during a league weekend since 2007-08 when Wesleyan defeated both St. Anselm and New England College. Those were the Cardinals next opponents as Wesleyan visited NEC Fri., Jan. 28, then hits St. Anselm on Sat., Jan. 29. The Cardinals did not fair as well as hoped in the NEC or St. Anselm matchups, falling 4-2 to the former and 6-2 to the latter.
Glenn Stowell '13 handled to pipes for the Cards vs. St. Mike's and recorded 30 saves. He had a shutout going through 45 minutes before the Purple Knights got on the board with a third-period power-play goal. Wesleyan led 3-0 at the time, thanks to goals from Mucha and Derek Collins '14 in the first period and DePietto in the second period. Mucha finished the contest with a pair of markers as he now leads the squad with six goals. Collins netted his first career goal and Donald Kleckner '13 also picked up his first of the season, that just 27 seconds after St. Mike's had cut the margin to 3-1. Though the visitors again narrowed the gap to two goals at 4-2 with 10:24 to play, Wesleyan struck for two quick goals just 1:23 apart with Mucha and Kaiser doing the honors, making it 6-2 with 5:41 to go. Henry Coxe '11 had a two-assist effort in the game for the Cardinals.
Wesleyan strung together three league wins in a row for the first time since the 2006-07 season when the Cardinals defeated UMass Boston, Southern Maine and Salem St. in consecutive fashion. That year, the Cardinals also established team marks for league wins in a row with four and longest league unbeaten streak of eight games (6-0-2) during a 9-1-2 league stretch.
The streak ended as NEC grabbed an early lead and despite being outshot in each period and by a 39-27 margin by the Cardinals for the game, never relinquished the lead. The Cardinals twice cut two-goal deficits to one as Brad Improta '14 narrowed the difference to 2-1 at 5:26 of the second period and Nick Craven '13 cut a 3-1 gap to 3-2 at 17:51 with a short-handed tally. But NEC reponded just 49 seconds later with a power-play marker, its second of the contest, to account for the final score. Wesleyan had two power-play opportunites of its own in the final period but could not cash in. Hadge made 23 stops in the game.
Stowell handled the net vs. St. Anselm and colected 42 stops as the Hawks outshot the Cardinals, 48-31. The game came down to the final 12 minutes as St. Anselm nursed a 3-2 advantage. Wesleyan's goals came from Tasiopoulos at 9:59 of the first perid, spotting Wesleyan's its only lead, and Keith Buehler '14 at 5:02 of the third period as Tasiopoulos got his second point by setting up the tally. But the Hawks upped the margin to 4-2 with 11:40 remaining and a rash of Cardinal penalties, resulting in 13 power-play chances for the host, resulted in two man-advantage goals, both with two Cardinals in the penalty box.
Wesleyan has a key NESCAC weekend ahead as Tufts comes to town Fri., Feb. 4, followed by Conn. College Sat., Feb. 5. The game vs, the Jumbos will be webcast and can be viewed by clicking < here >.
Wesleyan also has a unique contest coming up against Trinity Tues., Feb. 15 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford as part of the Hartford HockeyFest acitivities. For details on the HockeyFest activity and registration to attend all the events, please click < here >.