Amherst Cruises to 8-0 Shutout Win Over Fitchburg State

Rookie Nick Brunette scored his first two collegiate
goals in the win over Fitchburg State.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s hockey team returned from the winter break this afternoon for a non-conference home game against the Falcons of Fitchburg State College. The Lord Jeffs looked as though they had not missed a moment on the ice, cruising to an 8-0 win.

For the second straight season, the Lord Jeffs return from their mid-season break to face the Falcons. Last year, Amherst picked up a 4-1 road win that sparked a historic run of 18 wins within a 21-game span. A repeat result this afternoon would be very impressive with Amherst’s lineup decimated by a stomach bug.

With 7:48 to play in the first period, Amherst’s conference-best power play unit went on the man-advantage but came up empty. Fortunately for that group, just five seconds after the penalty expired the Falcons were whistled for another infraction. On the ensuing power play, Amherst scored on a beautiful odd-man rush with Matt Rhone (Dedham, MA) playing the set-up role. Amherst rookie Nick Brunette (Chaska, MN) scored after a few quick passes through set up the forward for his first collegiate score.  

The Lord Jeffs doubled their lead with 52.9 seconds to play in the first period when senior Ted Vickers (Chilliwack, BC) pounced on an open puck after a faceoff in the Fitchburg zone. Vickers’ score came off assists from Jeremy Deutsch (Huntington, NY) and Joe Brock (Cumming, GA).

Just five minutes into the second period, Amherst extended its lead to 3-0 on a pretty combination play from Luke Arnold (Lincoln, MA) to Eddie Effinger (Belleville, IL). Arnold broke down the left side one-on-one with Falcon goaltender Bobby Leiser, but played a no-look pass back to a trailing Effinger for a one-timer to the top right corner.

With 8:36 remaining in the second period, Brunette scored his second goal of the game when Mike Baran (Duxbury, MA) dropped off a soft pass into the slot for the rookie to unleash on. Half a minute after Amherst took a 4-0 lead, the Falcons went on the power-play with hopes of putting a dent in the deficit. Just 30 seconds into the penalty kill, Amherst sophomore Mark Colp (Wareham, MA) broke in on Leiser shorthanded. Colp extended the lead to 5-0 with a score on a beautiful toe drag to beat a sprawling Leiser on the stick side. The Colp score was Amherst’s first shorthanded goal of the season.

Near the midpoint of the third period, Amherst added another power play goal as junior Trip Wray (Walpole, MA) got into the scoring mix. With just over eight minutes to play, Fitchburg’s Chris Costigan was called for a five-minute major penalty, which would allow Amherst to work on the man-advantage once again.

1:22 into the power play, Arnold lifted a wrist shot over Leiser’s shoulder on the glove side for Amherst’s seventh goal of the night. With Costigan ejected for his penalty, Amherst remained on the power play after scoring. Despite being called for its own penalty to shift to a four-on-four, Amherst tacked on another goal as Colp fed Arnold with three and a half minutes to play.

With the final whistle, the score stood at 8-0 as Amherst improved to 6-2-0 on the year, while the Falcons drop to 5-3-1 overall. Leiser turned in a strong effort for Fitchburg in net, turning away 52 shots. Amherst rookie netminder Nathan Corey improved to 2-0-0 on the year with 16 saves for his second consecutive shutout to start his career.

The Lord Jeffs will return to the ice tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. for another home game against a MASCAC opponent. Amherst will face alumni Bob Miele ’02, who is a first year coach for the Westfield State Owls.