MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University men's ice hockey team will head into the NESCAC Tournament as the seventh seed, and will travel to Waterville, Maine to take on No. 2 seeded Colby on Saturday Feb. 25th at 3 p.m. This will be the first quarterfinals appearance for the Cardinals since the 2013-14 season.
Saturday's game will be webcasted live by the Northeast Sports Network (NSN).
Wesleyan played the Mules twice this season, notching a 4-4 tie on the road, and dropping a tough 3-2 game at home. Dawson Sprigings '17 made 29 saves in the first meeting, while Quincy Oujevolk '17, Chad Malinowski '19, Hunter Vannier '20 and Tyler Kobryn '20 each registered a goal. In the second meeting, Geroge Blinick '19 made 22 saves, with Cam McCusker '18 and James Kline '17 scoring for the Cardinals.
BY THE NUMBERS
Wesleyan posted a 12-8-4 overall record during the regular season, while going 7-7-4 in the conference. This year marks the first winning season for the Cardinals since 2013-14, and the 12 wins ranks third most in team history. Wesleyan also won the Little Three title outright for the first time since the 1986-87 campaign, going 2-1-1 against Amherst and Williams.
Saturday's game will post one of the league's top offenses against one of the league's best defense as the Mules rank fifth in scoring offense (3.09), and the Cardinals rank fourth in scoring defense (2.33).
Blinick (5-3-1) ranks within the top-five in Division III in several categories; second in save percentage (94.4), third in goals-against average (1.65), and fourth in shutouts (3). Sprigings (7-5-3) enters the game with a goals-against average of 2.45 and a save percentage of 90.9. The Cardinals penalty kill ranks tops in the league and Division III, as they have successfully killed off 73-of-76 power plays (93.6%).
Offensively, Wesleyan is led by Kline, who has 23 points (8g, 15a) and freshman Walker Harris with 21 points (9g, 12a). Kline ranks eighth in the conference in scoring and ninth in assists. Harris ranks second in power play points and is the second highest scoring freshman in the league. Malinowski has also been a solid contributor on offense, as his 18 points rank third in the NESCAC for a defenseman.
Colby will enter Saturday's contest having won six of its last seven games, while Wesleyan has won two of its last five. The Cardinals are 0-2 all-time against the Mules in the NESCAC Tournament. Offensively, Colby is led by Phil Klitirinos with 23 points (7g, 16 a) and Jack Burton with 21 points (6g, 15a). In net, Andrew Tucci has gone 7-3-3 with a 2.31 goals-against average and a 91.6 save percentage, while Sean Lawrence is 6-3-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and a 92.4 save percentage. The Mules have an impressive 9-1-1 record at home, while Wesleyan is 4-4-3 on the road.
2017 NESCAC Men's Ice Hockey Championship Schedule
Saturday, February 25 at Higher Seeds
No. 8 Bowdoin at No. 1 Hamilton - 1 p.m.
No. 7 Wesleyan at No. 2 Colby - 3 p.m.
No. 6 Tufts at No. 3 Trinity - 1 p.m.
No. 5 Amherst at No. 4 Williams - 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 4 at Highest Remaining Seed
Semifinal Games – 1 p.m. | 4 p.m.
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed – 1 p.m.
Remaining Quarterfinal Winners
Sunday, March 5 at Semifinals Site
Championship Game – 2 p.m.