In its final two games of the season, the men’s hockey team possessed two major goals: to maintain its seeding in the NESCAC conference, and to build momentum for the impending postseason run. By managing to split a home and away series with Trinity and capture their victory in the latter game, the Cardinals managed to accomplish both objectives.
The first encounter against the Bantams proved to be a harsh one to accept. Wesleyan controlled the action on the ice for the majority of the game despite the score. For the rest of the game, Wesleyan outshot Trinity by a 23-12 margin. In spite of nearly doubling the shot output of the Bantams, Wesleyan was outscored 3-1 for the remainder of the game, with Trinity managing to tally two goals on only six shots in the second period. Unfortunately, an empty-net goal as the final buzzer approached widened the margin in a 5-2 loss for the Cardinals, but the prospect of a rematch less than 24 hours later left the Cards eager for redemption.
The highlights of the game came off goals from Keith Buehler ’14 in the first period and Nik Tasiopoulos ’14 in the third. Consistent offensive performers, Buehler and Tasiopoulos accounted for their 14th and 18th goals of the season, respectively.
Saturday offered the opportunity for retribution against a team Wesleyan knew they had out-performed the night before. In a game that had higher implications in conference standings, both teams came out aggressive and sharp, accounting for a scoreless first period. The second period, however, provided all the scoring Wesleyan would get, and fortuitously, all the scoring the Cardinals would need. The fireworks started off on a goal from Captain Tom Salah ’12 just six minutes into the period, followed by an eventual game-winning goal on the power play from Tasiopoulos. Geoff Mucha ’12 scored a third goal on a set-up from Tasiopoulos. With these three scores, Wesleyan mustered more than enough to secure a victory. Again, Wesleyan outshot Trinity handily, tallying a 38-24 advantage. Goaltender Glenn Stowell ’13 bounced back from the night before with an outstanding performance, allowing only one goal. At the end of the game the Cardinals were happy to have earned a 3-1 victory on their home ice—a fitting ending to a successful season.
More importantly, the victory also ensured the sixth seed for Wesleyan in the upcoming NESCAC tournament, as well as their first winning season since the 2006-2007 campaign. Wesleyan will travel to Middlebury on Saturday to take on the conference foe in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. Wesleyan needs to look back no further than their 5-4 OT victory earlier this season against the Panthers when looking ahead to their next matchup.
The Cardinals finished their regular season with a 12-10-2 overall record, including a 7-9-2 tally in the NESCAC. The seven wins were against six different opponents, providing even more fuel to the belief that the Cardinals have the ability to take down any opponent they may face. Only time will tell their fortunes in the tournament, but suffice it to say the season is already a success.