Amherst Advances to McCabe Final with 3-2 Win Over Wesleyan

For the second straight meeting, Eddie Effinger scored two
goals with an assist in an Amherst win over Wesleyan.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s ice hockey team returned to action after the mid-season break this afternoon playing host to NESCAC and Little Three archrival Wesleyan University in the 2011 Ben McCabe Tournament. The Lord Jeffs advanced to the title game of this four-team tournament for the second straight year, pulling out a 3-2 win.

In the first game of the day, Trinity College and Connecticut College played through 65 minutes of regulation and overtime for a 2-2 tie. After a rare collegiate shoot-out, Trinity advanced to tomorrow’s Championship Game by a 2-1 margin on three rounds of penalty shots. Amherst and Trinity will play at 4 p.m. tomorrow, following a 1 p.m. Consolation Game matchup between Conn and Wesleyan.

Today’s is the second meeting of the year for these two rivals, with Amherst winning 4-0 at Wesleyan in the season opener for both sides. In that game, junior co-captain Eddie Effinger (Belleville, IL) scored two goals and had an assist in the lop-sided victory. Effinger proved to be the difference once again today, scoring another two goals with one assist.

Neither team generated a significant scoring chance until Amherst went on the power play late in the first period. Sophomore Jamie Hawkrigg (Waterdown, Ontario) floated a shot on net from straight away, and senior co-captain Trip Wray (Walpole, MA) re-directed the puck past a crossed-up Matt Hadge.  

Just over five minutes into the second period, Wesleyan broke up the ice during a shorthanded rush. Todd Keats ended up on the scoring end of assists from Geoff Mucha and Henry Coxe, beating a stranded Cole Anderson (Sylvan Lake, Alberta) for the game-tying tally.

With 3:10 to play in the second period, Amherst regained the lead at 2-1 when Effinger punched home the rebound of a shot from the slot by Mike Moher (Toronto, Ontario). Senior Matt Rhone (Dedham, MA) picked up the second assist on the go-ahead goal. Moher then took a penalty for hooking late in the second and Wesleyan capitalized, scoring a goal to tie the game 2-2 with just 1.8 seconds remaining in the period.

With just under ten minutes to play in the third, sophomore Brandon Hew (Fresno, CA) fired a shot from point that was sailing wide of the net. Effinger corralled the shot before it went behind the goal and tucked home a shot for the 3-2 lead. Rhone once again picked up the second assist on the game-winner.

Down the stretch, Amherst netminder Cole Anderson (Sylvan Lake, Alberta) made a handful of crucial saves to preserve the win. The Lord Jeff backstop finished the night with 34 saves, while Hadge closed out the loss with 48 stops for Wesleyan.