After one period on Sunday, it was apparent to the men’s ice hockey team that the weekend was not going according to plan. The only thing the Cardinals were left with was a sour taste in their mouths after the hard-fought loss to Middlebury the night before. Through the first twenty minutes of Sunday’s contest, it seemed as though their game against Williams would be no different.
Maybe the short layover after the heartbreaker from the night before was responsible for Wesleyan’s inopportune first period. All the same, the team came out for the second period reenergized and motivated. What followed was the most impressive forty minutes the Cardinals have demonstrated all season. A goal from captain Tom Salah ’12 just 2:14 into the second period was the first of four unanswered goals from Wesleyan to close out the game. A nice set up from Geoff Mucha ’12 to Tom Hartnett ’14 proved to be the game winner less than two minutes later, while on the power play. Junior defenseman Chris MacDonald added to the fireworks at the start of the third period with his first goal of the season off of a feed from Hartnett. Not to be outdone, leading scorer Nik Tasiopoulos ’14 scored on an empty-netter to put the game out of reach for Williams.
The game was an especially trying one. The second day of a back-to-back often tires players out, resulting in more dirty play. Wesleyan was fortunate enough to have six power plays, albeit only converting on one. But the game played to many of the Cardinals’ strengths, allowing them to demonstrate both skill and toughness. Four goals later, the Cardinals sent an emphatic message to both Williams and the rest of the conference.
Glenn Stowell ’13 again performed superbly. Facing a barrage of shots on net in the first period, Stowell only conceded one goal, keeping the Cardinals close enough to make a comeback. For the final two periods, Stowell stonewalled every challenge he faced.
The Cardinals’ next three games will truly be a test of their resiliency. All are on the road against conference opponents and have ramifications toward the NESCAC championships. This weekend, Wesleyan will travel to Brunswick, Maine, where they will try to avenge the 6-2 loss suffered at the hands of Bowdoin earlier in the season. The next day, the team will head to Colby College in hopes of sweeping the season series with another conference rival.
The stage is set for an exciting end of the season. A successful weekend in Maine will go a long way in defining the success of the Cardinals’ season.