By Matt Noonan
Looking for a good hockey game this evening? Look no further than historic Matthews Arena, which will be hosting a non-conference men’s ice hockey tilt between Wentworth Institute of Technology and Williams College at 6:45 p.m.
Williams (11-4-2) enters the game on a three-game winning streak. The Ephs picked up some much needed points in the NESCAC (New England Small Athletic Conference) standings this past weekend, as they downed Tufts University on Friday and skated past Connecticut College on Saturday. Sean Dougherty recorded 30 saves against the Camels, while John Wickman and Eric Rubio each netted two goals in the team’s 5-0 victory.
Dougherty has yielded 32 goals this season, but remains the third best goaltender in the conference with a 1.99 goals allowed average, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against Wentworth’s offense, which averages 3.11 goals per game.
Similar to Williams, WIT (10-7-1) is also on a three-game winning streak and currently remains the top squad in the ECAC Northeast. However, Curry College and Nichols College remain on their tail.
Kevin Crowe recorded his first career hat trick with the Leopards on Saturday during the team’s 4-3 win over Salve Regina in overtime, while netminder Joel Miller deflected 25 shots between the pipes.
The Leopards only interaction with the NESCAC occurred 13 days ago when they lost to Tufts, 2-0. The Ephs haven’t faced anyone this season from the ECAC Northeast, but defeated WIT last year, 8-2 in Williamstown.
This game is indeed a measuring stick for WIT, a squad that only has two more points than Curry and Nichols. And even though no conference points will be handed out after the final whistle is blown, it’ll certainly be interesting to see if the Leopards can capitalize on every opportunity and loose puck.
Prediction: Williams College recently fell out of last week’s D3Hockey.com poll, but managed to ignore the departure by picking up two conference wins. The Ephs rank third in their conference in goals per game (3.35) and third in defense (2.12 goals allowed). The Ephs pounced on various chances early in their last meeting against WIT to obtain a lead they never relinquished, so if they do it again it could be a long night at the Matthews. However, I do expect the Leopards to compete in this game and certainly provide challenges for the Ephs. Williams 4, WIT 2