Amherst Tops Westfield State 3-2 in Overtime

Junior transfer Joe Brock scored two goals, including
the overtime game-winner, against Westfield.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s hockey team played host to visiting non-conference foe Westfield State College this afternoon at Orr Rink. Today’s game marked the return of Westfield rookie head coach Bob Miele, who graduated from Amherst in 2002. Despite the homecoming for their coach, the Owls fell to the Lord Jeffs in overtime 3-2.

Today’s game features two nationally-ranked special teams units. The Owls entered the day sitting second in the nation in penalty minutes per game with 28.4, while the Lord Jeff power play has been on fire recently and ranks second nationally with goals coming on 34.3% of extra-skater opportunities. Yesterday afternoon, Amherst had seven power play opportunities against Fitchburg State and scored a trio of goals with the extra man.

The Owls scored the game’s first goal just over five minutes into the first period as rookie forward Danny Kaufman beat Amherst goaltender Cole Anderson (Sylvan Lake, Alberta).  Kaufman’s score came off an assist from tri-captain Casey Mignone on a short flick from just off the Amherst crease during a scramble in front of Anderson.

Amherst found the net for an equalizer with 11:05 to play in the first period, as junior Luke Arnold (Lincoln, MA) punched in the rebound of an Eddie Effinger (Belleville, IL) shot. Westfield State goaltender Ray Monroe was unable to hold onto the Effinger bid, giving Arnold the opportunity to bring Amherst level with the Owls. Sophomore Mark Colp (Wareham, MA) picked up the second assist on the goal.

Despite their reputation for taking penalties, the Owls went on the first power play of the game when Amherst’s Jack Baer (Edina, MN) was sent to the penalty box with six and a half minutes to play in the first. The Owls had a few scoring chances on the power play, but Anderson made each save look routine to keep the score deadlocked at 1-1.

After 39 seconds of four-on-four action, Amherst closed out the first period on the power play for the final half of a minute. The Jeffs were quick to set up their power play offense, but time ran out on the first period, as Amherst would start the second stanza with 54 seconds remaining on the power play. Matt Rhone (Dedham, MA) had a pair of shots before that penalty came to an end, but could not beat Monroe.

Amherst took a 2-1 lead with 2:07 to play in the second period on a second effort score from junior Joe Brock (Cumming, GA). After Brock’s initial bid was denied by Monroe, senior Ted Vickers (Chilliwack, BC) centered the rebound to an unmarked Brock on the doorstep for the easy finish. The Owls needed just 66 seconds to tie the game at 2-2 on another rebound goal. The second Westfield State goal was scored by Jimmy Alexander on assists from Pat Nelson and Lucas Romero.

Early in the third period, Amherst’s touted power play unit was given a golden opportunity to regain the lead when Westfield’s Kaufman was whistled for a tripping penalty. One minute later, the Jeffs celebrated what appeared to be a goal from Vickers, but the puck was cleared off the line by Westfield. Just seconds after the Kaufman penalty expired, Mignone was called for slashing.  The Mignone penalty expired without Amherst putting a dangerous shot on Monroe.

Just after the midpoint of the third period, Kaufman beat Anderson, but not the left post of the Amherst goal, during a strong power play by the Owls. The Kaufman shot was the final close call of the third period, as regulation came to a close with the two teams knotted up at 2-2, and headed for overtime.

In the extra session, Amherst put heavy pressure on Monroe and the Westfield defense. Just over two minutes into overtime, Brock scored an amazing game-winner for the Lord Jeffs, as he hooked a shot past Monroe from his back in the crease. Assists on the winner were awarded to Mike Baran (Duxbury, MA) and captain Keith Nelson (Manalapan, NJ).

For the day, Monroe made 50 saves in net for the Owls, while Anderson turned away 18 shots for the win. Amherst improves to 7-2-0 overall with the victory, while Westfield falls to 6-2-2.