Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s last night’s release from the men’s ice hockey contest, which saw the Bison defeat Curry College, 4-3, as well as earn a spot in their conference’s championship game on Saturday:
HARRISVILLE, R.I. – Freshman Sean Swansen (Salem, N.H.) scored a pair of goals to help the Nichols College men’s ice hockey team advance to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Championship game with a 4-3 win over No. 6 seed Curry College Wednesday night at Levy Rink.
Sophomores Sean Fleming (Easthampton, N.J.) and Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, Ind.) also scored for the top-seeded Bison (17-6-3), who will play for the conference championship for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, where they defeated Saturday night’s opponent, Wentworth, 4-3 to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The contest begins at 6:40 p.m. on Saturday at Levy Rink.
Senior Brad Devereaux (Duxbury, Mass.) potted two power-play goals for the Colonels (11-14-2), who went 3-for-3 with the man advantage but suffered their third loss to the Bison this season. Junior ECAC Goaltender of the Year Derek Mohney (Amherst, N.Y.) recorded 26 saves and finishes the season 9-9-1.
Nichols led 2-0 after one period of play behind goals from Fleming at 11:33 and Swansen at 19:04. Junior Brett Jackson (Larchmont, N.Y.) collected a puck off the end boards and fed Fleming in the slot, and his wrister beat Mohney over the glove hand. With time winding down in the first, graduate student Ray Furr (Woodbridge, Va.) chipped the puck to Swansen, who skated around a defenseman and beat Mohney with a backhand deke.
Freshman Tyler Vankleef (Dundas, Ontario) got the Colonels on the board just 2:36 into the second when he converted a feed from sophomore Shane Harrington (Mansfield, Mass.) into his eighth goal of the season. Devereaux’s sixth goal of the season with the man advantage at 14:32 evened the score at two. Less than three minutes later, Swansen stole a breakout pass and snuck a wrist shot past Mohney for his seventh of the season to send Nichols into the third period with a one-goal lead.
In the third, Beasley collected a rebound off a shot from senior Josh DeLoach (Tampa, Fla.) and potted his 12th goal of the season at 6:55 to push the Nichols lead to 4-2. Devereaux cut the Curry deficit to one at 4-3 with his ninth goal at 17:24, but with Mohney on the bench for the extra attacker with 60 seconds remaining, the Colonels could not get the equalizer.
“I thought we played a pretty good game for the most part,” said Nichols head coach Kevin Swallow. “I thought we played excellent first period. We let up a little in the second period. We too some penalties, and they were opportunistic and scored on them. We got back to our game in the third period and played well with the lead. Curry plays a very good defensive team game around Mohney. We were able to generate a lot of shots tonight. You aren’t going to get goals without putting up shots, and we were able to get a lot of shots in there.”
Nichols outshot the Colonels 30-28 but went 0-for-2 on the PP. Sophomore Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced to improve to 14-6-3 on the season and leave the Bison one win away from their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history.
“It is going to be a battle,” said Swallow. “They are the two-time defending league champions, and it is for good reason. They are a good team and are well coached.”