Landers' Equalizer Lifts Amherst to 1-1 Draw with #6 Norwich

Senior captain Jeff Landers netted the equalizer.
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s ice hockey team hosted 6th-ranked Norwich University this afternoon at Orr Rink in ECAC-East action. Amherst senior captain Jeff Landers (Hanover, MA) scored the Jeffs’ only goal early in the second period to knot the game at 1-1, before holding on for the overtime tie.

The Lord Jeffs caught a break just 18 seconds into the game as Norwich was whistled for an interference penalty. Against St. Michael’s College yesterday, Amherst scored a trio of power play goals, and another goal just two seconds after a penalty expired. For the Jeffs to pull off the upset today, the power play unit would need to be successful.

Amherst did not generate any scoring chances during its first special team’s dash, but went on the power play just two minutes later. Sophomore Luke Arnold (Lincoln, MA) appeared to score on an odd-man rush, but just as the puck hit the back of the net a Cadet defender knocked the goal off the line, leading the referee to wave off the score.

The Lord Jeffs killed off a Cadet power play, and as the clock hit the mid-point of the first period, the game remained scoreless, with each side playing quite evenly. Amherst ran out another Norwich power-play minutes later as senior Joel Covelli (Carlisle, ON) was nailed for high-sticking on the follow-through of his own shot.

With 5:20 left in the period, Amherst goaltender Cole Anderson (Sylvan Lake, Alberta) watched the game’s first scoring chance fly just wide of his goal after a Cadet bid beat him stick side. With just over three minutes remaining in the first period, Amherst was put in a tough spot as junior Ted Vickers (Chiliwack, BC) was sent to the locker room for hitting from behind. His teammates would be left to play 4-on-5 hockey for five minutes regardless of any Norwich score.

Just 41 seconds later the Cadets took a 1-0 lead on an unsassisted goal from Craig Serino. The score sent Amherst to the locker room still down a man for 1:58, and now down a goal.

Early in the second period, Norwich was given a two-minute penalty, giving Amherst a golden opportunity to play 4-on-4. Landers would not let the opportunity be wasted, and banged home a slap shot from the slot. Covelli and first-year Eddie Effinger (Belleville, MO) picked up the assists on the equalizer.

Neither side was able to break through during the remainder of the second period, sending both the Cadets and Lord Jeffs into the second intermission deadlocked at 1-1.

Midway through the third period, Anderson made the save of the year for Amherst on a Norwich breakaway. Nikita Kashirsky was on the end of a 2-on-1 for the Cadets, and put a wrist shot high on Anderson, who tumbled to his right and made an amazing glove save to keep the game knotted at 1-1.

Play went end-to-end in the final five minutes of regulation, with Norwich hitting the crossbar with less than a minute to play, and Amherst wrapping the period with a flurry of shots. No goal came though, and the action went into overtime with the score still 1-1.

Anderson made another notable play in net for the Jeffs with 4:01 to play in overtime, when he snatched a loose puck off the ice with his bare hand after a scramble in the crease knocked his stick and blocker out of his right hand.

The best chance of overtime came with just 9 seconds showing on the clock. Covelli was released in alone down the right wing on Norwich goalie Ryan Klingensmith, but out his shot over the crossbar.

The final whistle blew on a 1-1 overtime tie, moving both Amherst and Norwich to 3-2-1 on the year. Anderson made 34 saves in net for Amherst, while Klingensmith made 20 stops for the Cadets.

The Jeffs will break until a Jan.2 game against Fitchburg State at the St. Michael’s Holiday Tournament.