Jeffs Tie Gustavus, 2-2
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – Mike Rowbotham ’15 evened the score with just 93 seconds left in regulation, but the Lord Jeffs couldn’t net the winner in overtime as the No. 8 Amherst College men’s hockey team played to a hard-fought 2-2 tie with visiting Gustavus Adolphus College Friday night at Orr Rink.
Mike Moher ’13 gave Amherst a first-period lead and assisted on Rowbotham’s late equalizer, but Adam Smyth ’14 and Tyler Lapic ’15 scored for the Gusties in between as the Jeffs moved to 3-0-1 on the young season and injury-plagued Gustavus (3-5-1) rebounded from four straight conference losses.
With even play to start, Amherst struck first at the 10:02 mark in the first period. With their power play ending 10 seconds earlier, the Jeffs stayed on the attack as Moher tapped in a close-range shot from near the right post for his second tally of the year. Mike Cashman ’15 earned his third assist and Johnny Van Siclen ’13 his first on the tally.
In the closing minute of the period, Gustavus had a strong chance turned away when Smyth found Alex Gallen ’14 with a nice pass from the left side, but Dave Cunningham ’16 saved the Gustie’s hard wrist shot to keep Amherst on top heading into the first intermission.
Smyth pulled Gustavus even 5:16 into the second, scoring his first goal of the season and the first goal against Amherst’s defense on the year. Carrying the puck around the back of the net, the Gustie junior found clearing space on the right side and fired a mid-range shot past Cunningham for the unassisted tally.
Amherst nearly pulled ahead midway through the frame, but Gustavus goalie Tyler Venne ’13 made a brilliant catch save off Moher’s seemingly open-net look from the back right.
With the deadlock continuing into the third period, Cunningham kept it knotted near the nine-minute mark, making an impressive split save off a hard shot from Smyth then stopping his rebound attempt as well.
Four minutes later, however, the Gusties broke the stalemate, with Lapic getting separation in front of the net and ripping a wrist shot over Cunningham’s left shoulder for a 2-1 lead at the 13:37 mark. Andrew Peterson ’13 earned his first assist of the year and Ryan Johnson ’13 his second as Lapic netted his first of the season.
With Gustavus closing in on a big win to start its road trip, Rowbotham brought Amherst back from the brink with just 1:33 remaining in regulation. With the Jeffs likely moments away from pulling Cunningham in their final attack, Rowbotham found room amidst the defense and slotted a close-range shot into the top shelf over Venne’s right shoulder. Moher tallied his second assist of the year and Aaron Deutsch ’15 his team-leading fifth as Rowbotham found the back of the net for the second time.
With the teams heading to overtime, Gustavus nearly won it just 20 seconds in, but Cunningham made a strong save of a Jack Walsh ’15 low shot from close range. The Amherst rookie stepped up again at the 2:43 mark of the extra frame with a catch save of Smyth’s rocket after a turnover. Cunningham finished with 30 saves on the evening, while Venne stopped 24 shots for the Gusties.
The back-and-forth battle saw Gustavus outshoot Amherst 32-26 but the Jeffs hold a 36-20 edge on faceoffs, led by Moher’s impressive 19-2 performance on the drop. Neither squad could capitalize on power plays, with the Gusties 0-for-4 and Amherst 0-for-2.
Both teams will be back on the ice tomorrow, with Amherst traveling to Utica College for a 7 p.m. contest and Gustavus completing its Bay State swing at Williams.