No. 10 Wesleyan Suffers First NESCAC Loss of the Season

Walker Harris scored the lone-goal for Wesleyan (Lianne Yun '18).
Walker Harris scored the lone-goal for Wesleyan (Lianne Yun '18).

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -  The No. 10 Wesleyan men's hockey team (15-5-2, 13-1-2) saw its NESCAC unbeaten streak snapped on Saturday when they fell 4-1 to Colby (9-9-4, 6-7-3). Despite the loss, the Cardinals recorded the longest unbeaten streak in regular-season NESCAC play (13-0-2) which had stood since 2011 when the conference became exclusive.   

Prior to today's game, head coach Chris Potter and the Cardinals honored the seven members of the Class of 2019 – George Blinick, Andy Espinoza, Vincent Lima, Chad Malinowski, Sean Ross, Chris White and Mike Yablong. This year's senior class has brought an incredible work ethic and energy to the program, having won two Little Three Championships during their time at Wesleyan. Additionally, this class set the program record for most wins in a season (15) after last night's victory over Bowdoin. Currently ranked No. 10 in the country, the seniors and the rest of the team are looking to win their first-ever NESCAC Championship.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Colby opened the scoring with 3:29 expired during a power play after Spencer Hewson collected a loose puck behind the Wesleyan goal. Michael Morrissey one-timed Hewson's pass in the slot, making it 1-0.
  • The Cardinals had a great chance to score the equalizer at the 15:58 mark. Matthew Zandi sent a pass from the top of the right faceoff circle across to Andy Espinoza on the left, but Espinoza's bid was denied by a blocker save from Mule goaltender Andrew Tucci.
  • Colby had an opportunity to extend its lead with 17:39 expired when Quinn Doyle and Hewson skated two-on-one, but Wesleyan's goaltender Tim Sestak made a great save to deny Hewson's attempt.
  • Wesleyan looked for a chance to knot the game at the 7:25 mark of the second during a power play, but Sean Ross' shot was denied by an impressive stick save from Tucci.
  • The Cardinals found the equalizer with 11:22 expired when Walker Harris tucked the puck under the crossbar, knotting the game 1-1.
  • The Mules answered at the 13:00 mark when Hewson found the back of the goal, capitalizing on the power play to make it 2-1.
  • With 17:42 expired Colby skated five-on-three for 1:35, but Wesleyan was able to kill off both penalties to keep the game within one (2-1) heading into the intermission.
  • Out of the break, the Mules had a great opportunity to score with just 21 seconds expired when Nick O'Connor skated towards Sestak on a breakaway. O'Connor drew Sestak off his line and forced him to make a diving save through the slot to deny his bid. O'Connor gathered the rebound, but his rushed attempt went just wide.
  • Colby's O'Connor capitalized on his next breakaway at the 14:00 mark, finding the back of the goal for the 3-1 lead.
  • With 17:15 expired, the Mules recorded a shorthanded tally when Paddy Daley beat a Wesleyan defender before tucking the puck inside the left pipe, making it 4-1.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Sestak suffered the loss in net for the Cardinals, making 35 stops, while Tucci recorded 23 saves for Colby.

UP NEXT:

  • The Cardinals will conclude their regular season next weekend when they host Trinity on Friday at 7:00 p.m. before heading to the Bantams rink on Saturday for a 4:00 p.m. puck drop.