Nik Tasiopoulos '14 Powers Cards Past Conn in Season Opener with a Hat Trick During 6-1 Triumph Before Comeback vs. Tufts Falls Short, Followed by Non-Conference Win over UMass Dartmouth
Behind Nik Tasiopoulos's '14 (#24, photo) second career hat trick, Wesleyan rolled to a 6-1 victory over Connecticut College Fri., Nov. 18 in the season opener for both teams. Tasiopoulos also assisted on the Cardinals' second goal to give him a four-point night. The win marks the first time since the 2007-08 season that Wesleyan won its opener.
Tasiopoulos opened the scoring 5:02 into the game, putting in a rebound following a mix-up in front of the net. Wesleyan made it 2-0 at 12:53 when Keith Buehler '14 scored on a wrister from the left circle, with Tasiopoulos and Jackson Brandstetter '14 receiving assists on the play. Tasiopoulos made it 3-0 with 12 seconds to go before intermission, scoring on a 2-on-2 fast break.
Nick Craven '13 extended the Cardinals' advantage to 4-0 6:32 into the second period. Craven took the puck behind the net and tried to pass it ahead, but it deflected off the back of the Conn. College netminder's leg and into the net. Tasiopoulos netted a power-play marker at 9:21 for the hat trick, and Wesleyan made it 6-0 at 11:17 when Dylan Niehoff '15 put home a rebound in front.
Conn. College got on the board with a power-play tally 38 seconds into the third period to break up the shutout bid of Matt Hadge '13, who ended the game with 20 stops as Wesleyan held a 27-21 margin in total shots.
The six goals marked Wesleyan's largest output against Conn. College since Feb. 1, 1986, when the Camels won a 10-8 shootout in New London, Conn. Wesleyan has won two straight over its NESCAC foe after going 0-3-1 in the previous four meetings; the Cardinals took a 3-2 victory in Middletown in the teams' last meeting in 2010-11.
Tasiopoulos also recorded a hat trick in a 14-1 win over the University of New England in Wesleyan's final home game of 2010-11. He added three assists in that game for a career-high six-point day.
Wesleyan hit the ice again on Sat., Nov 19, hosting Tufts to close out its NESCAC weekend. Tufts scored three times in the second period over a span of 7:18 to forge a 3-0 lead heading into the final stanza. A pair of goals by John Guay '13, the first at 7:33 and the second with just 45 seconds to go, made it a 3-2 game. The second goal came with goalie Hadge piulled for an extra skater. Wesleyan was unable to pull Hadge for the final :45 and Tufts hung on for the win. Hadge finished with 25 saves.
The Cardinals moved out-of-conference for their next game, traveling to UMass Dartmouth Tues., Nov. 22. Five different goal scorers supplied Wesleyan with the firepower for a 5-2 victory. A pair of power-play markers in the first period, one each by Adam Kaiser '13 and Tom Salah '12, gave the visitors a 2-0 margin after 20 minutes. Wesleyan doubled the lead on second-period tallies from Buehler and James Albrecht '15 before goalie Glenn Stowell '13 lost his shutout bid when the Corsairs cashed in on a power-play of their own just seven seconds into the extra-man situation 12:22 into the frame. UMD made it 4-2 in the third period before Tommy Hartnett '14 finished off the evening's scoring at 14:33 with Tasiopoulos setting up the goal. Stowell ended the outing with 32 stops.
Ahead for the team is a two-day non-conference arrangement with the Cardinals taking on Wentworth while Trinity battles Assumption Sat., Nov. 26 in Middletown. On Sun., Nov. 27, the NESCAC teams exchange opponents with the games hosted by Trinity.