M. Ice hockey makes playoffs

The Colby men’s hockey team continued their impressive run this weekend to book their place as the seventh seed in the NESCAC playoffs. The Mules clinched a playoff spot with a 3-3 tie at Connecticut College on Friday. Building on that momentum, the Mules procedded to blow out Tufts University in a 4-1 win.

The team went into the weekend in the precarious eighth spot, knowing that a draw from either game would ensure postseason hockey. The Mules took a 2-0 lead in the second period through goals from Michael Decker ’18 and Kevin Doherty ’17. The Camels snatched a goal back early in the third period to make it 2-1 before Alex Walsh ’16 scored on the power play at 7:46 into the period. The goal gave the Mules a cushion as they looked to close out the game. However, the hosts came roaring back, scoring two goals in just 23 seconds to tie the game up at three. The Camels’ push sent the game into overtime, but neither team was able to break the deadlock. Though disappointed after dropping a two-goal lead, the Mules’ efforts were enough to clinch a playoff game.

Friday’s tie relieved some of the pressure on the team going into Saturday’s regular-season finale, but there was still a playoff seed to play for.  The Mules didn’t get off to the start they wanted, going down 1-0 on a short-handed goal. Still, the visitors held a 13-9 shot advantage over their hosts in the first period. The offense stalled again in the second period, registering just 11 shots on. Colby netminder Emerson Verrier ’18 kept his side in the game, saving all 16 shots to keep the score at 1-0.

The Mules seemed to flip a switch in the third period and shot out to a 2-1 lead just seven minutes into the final frame. Forward Nick O’Connor ’19 levelled on the power play before Jack Burton ’17 took the lead on another man advantage opportunity with his sixth goal of the season. The Jumbos were visibly rattled and took their timeout following Burton’s goal. The hosts pulled their goalie late in the game in search of an equalizer. Colby weathered the storm capably and Michael Rudolf ’18 put the game out of reach at 18:39 with an empty net goal. Walsh added some gloss to the scoreline less than a minute later, tallying his second of the weekend and the team’s fourth of the day to finish off the Mules’ ninth win of the year.

The team will need this weekend’s momentum heading into the first round of the playoffs next weekend. Colby faces a trip to Hartford to face defending national champions Trinity.

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