MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - The No. 10 Wesleyan men's hockey team (15-4-2) set a new program record for most wins in a season (15) en route to a 3-1 victory over Bowdoin (6-13-2, 3-11-1) on Friday. The Cardinals extended their win streak to eight and currently own the NESCAC's longest unbeaten streak (13-0-3), in regular season play, since the league became exclusively NESCAC teams in 2011.
Tonight's game was dedicated to honoring and celebrating the life of former teammate Connor Albert. Connor joined the Wesleyan men's hockey team through Team IMPACT in January 20th, 2017, but after battling hard for 20 months with Osteosarcoma, he tragically passed away in December 2017. The team held a ceremonial puck drop with the Albert family before the start of the game and the Cardinal's wore the name "Albert" on the backs of their jerseys, and his favorite number, 34, on the front of their chests for tonight's game.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowdoin had a great chance to get on the board first at the 4:42 mark, but Wesleyan's Spencer Fox dove in front of the net to block Christian Capello's shot, keeping the contest scoreless.
- The Polar Bears threatened with 13:34 expired when Collin Van der Veen blasted a shot towards Cardinal goaltender Tim Sestak, but Sestak made a sprawling glove-save to deny the opportunity.
- The first period saw much back and forth action and was very physical. Both teams forced to take just eight shots apiece, while the stanza saw six penalties in the opening 20 minutes.
- Wesleyan looked to open the scoring 6:03 into the second stanza when Jordan Rose redirected a blast from Mike Yablong, but Bowdoin netminder Alex Zafonte thwarted the opportunity.
- The Cardinals found the back of the net with 8:36 expired in the second when Tyler Levine and Tyler Wyatt skated two-on-one. Wyatt sent a pass from the right faceoff circle, before Levine one-timed it for the 1-0 edge.
- Wesleyan extended its lead just 18 seconds later when the Levine-Wyatt duo struck again. Wyatt's initial shot was denied by Zafonte, but Levine tucked the rebound inside the right pipe, making it 2-0.
- The Polar Bears answered, cutting the deficit to 2-1 at the 12:54 mark. Chris Wallace sent a pass from the defensive zone to Pat Geary who found the back of the net on a breakaway.
- Bowdoin's best chance for the equalizer came with 6:26 expired in the third during a power play, but Cam Berube's blast from the left faceoff circle was denied by Sestak.
- The Cardinal's increased their advantage to 3-1 just 48 seconds later. Levine circled around the goal and found Quincy Gregg at the left faceoff circle, before Gregg lifted the puck over Zafonte blocker-side.
- With 56 seconds remaining, the Polar Bears pulled their goaltender in hopes of getting a quick tally. Cody Todesco had a great bid, but his shot was blocked by Chris White and Wesleyan was able to hang on for the win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Sestak made 24 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Cardinals, while Zafonte made 25 stops.
- Wesleyan held a slight edge in shots (28-25) during the contest.
- The Cardinals will celebrate senior day tomorrow when they host Colby at 3:00 p.m.