Jeffs Complete Weekend Sweep with 5-3 Win Over Conn College

Head Coach
Jack Arena '83

By Ryan O'Donnell '08

AMHERST, MA - The Amherst College men’s hockey team battled visiting Connecticut College to a key 5-3 victory on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Amherst moves to 10-5-3 over all and 8-3-2 in the NESCAC. Connecticut drops to 3-11-3 (3-8-2).

The day belonged to Amherst head coach Jack Arena ’83 as he celebrated his 25th season as head coach. Arena is the most successful hockey coach in Amherst College history racking up 296 victories. As a player, he won the Hobey Baker Award his senior year at Amherst as the best Division III men’s hockey player. Before the game, Coach Arena’s original team from the 1983-1984 season surprised Arena by sitting on the bench wearing their old Amherst uniforms. They greeted their old coach when he walked out of the locker room and one of Arena’s former teammates and player Larry Vitale ’84 congratulated Arena on behalf of the team.

The Jeffs jumped in front early in the first period when sophomore forward Keith Nelson (Manalapan, NJ) stuffed home his fifth goal of the season. Junior forward Joel Covelli (Carlisle, Ontario) picked up an assist along with sophomore defenseman Andrew Stevenson (Newton, MA).

The second period was furious from the start. Amherst jumped to 2 -0 lead 2:19 into the frame when junior Brendan powers (Walpole, MA) tucked home a backhand shot underneath Connecticut netminder Dan Beauregard. Stevenson and sophomore forward Jack Baer (Edina, MN) collected the assists. 32 second later, junior defenseman Jeff Landers (Hanover, MA) sniped home his second goal of the weekend off feeds from sophomore Teddy Vickers (Chilliwack, BC) and rookie Trip Wray (Walpole, MA).

Amherst took a commanding four-goal lead three minutes after the Landers tally when Gregg Adamo (Manalapan, NJ) beat Beauregard for his ninth goal of the season. The goal came during an Amherst 5-on-3 advantage with Landers and Powers providing helpers on the goal. Connecticut came back with a 5-on-3 goal of there own eight minutes into the second period. Brian Warner faked a slap-shot and slid it down low to a wide open Ryan Howarth who deflected the puck into the open goal. Howarth brought the Camels within two goals at the 17:10 mark of the second period with an assist from Jordan Gray.

Amherst senior co-captain Kyle Schoppel (Cambridge, ON) took a pass from junior forward Will Collins (Edina, MN) and skated in alone on Beauregard before deking to the backhand and tucking it home five-hole. It was Schoppel’s team-leading 12th goal of the season. Connecticut struck again on the power-play at the 12-minute mark. Brian Gallagher scored from Robbie Tesar and Ryan Riffe bringing Connecticut within a pair. The Camels nearly cut the lead to one with five minutes remaining and on the power-play. Rookie goaltender Jonathan LaRose (Boyle, Alberta) made six great saves including a point blank, cross-ice stop to preserve the Jeffs lead.

LaRose finished with 23 saves while Beauregard made 21 stops for Connecticut.

Amherst returns to action next Friday night when they travel to meet Colby College at 7 p.m.