Nik Tasiopoulos '14 is Concannon Award Semifinalist - 6th Seeded Men's Ice Hockey Falls to Middlebury, 2-1, in NESCACs
Nik Tasiopoulos '14 (#24, photo insert upper left) registered a goal and an assist and netminder Glenn Stowell '13 (#31, main photo) made 23 saves to lead Wesleyan to a 3-1 victory over Trinity Sat., Feb. 18 . Wesleyan (12-10-2, 7-9-2 NESCAC) clinched the sixth seed in the NESCAC Championship and its first winning season since 2006-07, when the Cardinals finished 11-8-5. Wesleyan traveled to Middlebury for a quarterfinal contest on Feb. 25. There the Panthers ended Wesleyan streak of overtime road wins at two as Middlebury scored with 3:03 left to secure a 2-1 victory and a spot in the NESCAC semis.
Middlebury broke a scoreless tie late in the second period and it held until about nine minutes remained in the third period. That's when James Albrecht '15 completed the Cardinals' scoring play with his fourth goal of the season as the Cardinals picked off a Panther pass and converted it into a 1-1 tie. Brad Improta '14 and Nick Craven '14 set up the marker at 11:14. Albrecht had scored the overtime winner when Wesleyan visited Middlebury during the regular season. But the Panthers got the go-ahead and eventual winner that ended Wesleyan's season. Middlebury held a 29-12 edge in shots as Stowell recorded 27 saves. He ended the year with a .917 save percentage and a 2.76 GAA.
All four goals in the game vs. Trinity were scored in the second period. Tom Salah '12 (#5, photo insert upper right) opened the scoring with just over six minutes gone in the period. Keith Buehler '14 launched a shot that hit the stick of the Trinity keeper, then deflected off Salah, who was standing to the right of the crease, and in at 6:06. The goal was Salah's fourth of the season.
Tasiopoulos made it a 2-0 game at 8:43. With the Cardinals skating five-on-three, Tasiopoulos launched a one-timer through traffic on the left side for his team-high and conference-leading 19th goal.
Trinity halved its deficit at the 15:36 mark courtesy of a slap shot from the right side that beat Stowell on his glove side, but Wesleyan answered at 17:32 with a tally off the stick of Geoff Mucha '12 (#6, photo insert lower left). Mucha went top-shelf with a shot from long range on the right side for his fourth goal. Tasiopoulos picked up an assist on the tally, giving him a team and NESCAC-leading 34 points on the season. Tasiopoulos has been chosen as a Joe Concannon Award semifinalist for 2011-12. The Concannon Award is presented to the top Div. II/III American-born player in New England. Wesleyan assistant coach Jim Panzykowski '04 was the Concannon Award winner his senior year as a goalie. To see the full release posted by the NESCAC about the Concannon Award semifinalists, please click < here >.
Trinity's keepers combined for 33 saves as Wesleyan held a 38-24 edge in shots. Wesleyan avenged a 5-2 loss at Trinity the night before and defeated the Bantams for just the second time in the last seven games with the victory.
Wesleyan ended the year with a win over six of the nine NESCAC squads this season.