M. Ice Hockey begins season

With Thanksgiving celebrations behind us, all attention turns indoors to the long-awaited hockey season. The team intends to surpass their five-win total from a year ago, as a majority of their top scorers return to the ice this season. The Mules took on Middlebury College last Saturday night to kick off a promising season.

With high aspirations, the Mules battled a well-rounded Middlebury team at Kenyon Arena. The game began with even play from both sides, until Middlebury broke the scoreless tie with a swift goal. Great chemistry between Evan Neugold and Terrence Goguen put the puck past Emerson Verrier ’18 to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. The hosts added to their lead 11:21 into the second period with a wrap-around goal by Vincent Gisonti.

Colby continued to pressure Middlebury goalie Stephen Klein with a barrage of shots from all over the ice, finishing the second period with a 14-11 shots advantage. A near-goal came in the second period when Kai Frankville ’17 ripped a shot that bounced off a Middlebury defender and towards what looked like the back of the net.  However, Neary’s quick reaction caused the puck to narrowly miss the post by a few inches. Middlebury added two more goals while holding the Mules scoreless on their way to 4-0 win. The Panthers scored their third goal 3:43 into the third period with a great shot by Jake Charles off a pass from Neugold, and then a fourth 16:08 into the final period when Neugold earned his third assist on a pass to scorer Spencer Cage. The Mules’ valiant effort signified the team’s resilience.

The Mules looked to rebound in their tilt against Williams last Sunday. Verrier had a particularly strong game, making 30 saves against a highly offensive Williams squad. After the opening face off, a defensive game ensued. Verrier made 16 saves in the first period and continued his stout contention in net with 10 more saves in the second period. Williams’ only goal came 5:51 in the second period. Greg Johnson won a face-off in the left circle, sent a pass back to teammate Frankie Mork who fired a shot on net. Roberto Cellini deflected the shot past goalie Verrier, breaking the scoreless tie. The score remained 1-0 for the duration of the game as Colby had difficulty on offense. The Mules had trouble finding scoring opportunities due to great defense by the Ephs. Colby finished the game with a mere 11 shots on goal, six of which came from Michael Rudolf ’18 and Nick O’Connor ’19.

The Mules finally broke out offensively in their home opener against ninth-ranked UMass-Boston. A scoreless first period heightened tension as both teams ripped a multitude of shots on net. The teams each eclipsed 28 shots on net over the course of the game, showcasing their offensive talents. The Mules struck first only 2:37 into the second period when Geoff Sullivan ’17 and Jonathan Sdao ’16 moved the puck up the ice. Sullivan and Sdao worked in tandem to create an opportunity for Griffin Fadden ’18 to lace his first collegiate goal.

The Beacons responded with a goal of their own 7:30 into the second period, when Garrison Sanipass collected his own rebound to put it past Verrier. Verrier made 31 stops on the night, with his most crucial save coming at the very end of overtime, preserving a tie for the Mules.

Despite an 0-2-1 record, the Mules remain in high spirits about the promising season to come. Phil Klitirinos ’18 spoke highly of the team’s work ethic and their determination for the long season ahead. “The season is off to a good start. Our team is really optimistic and we are looking for a strong season,” he said. Long term, Klitirinos mentioned that the team has the goal of earning a home seed in the playoffs. He noted their speed and pace as assets that could potentially separate them from many opponents this season. With the young season underway, look for the Colby men’s hockey team to make some noise throughout the winter.

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