Men's Ice Hockey Edged on Late Goal by New England College, 4-3

Men's Ice Hockey Edged on Late Goal by New England College, 4-3

HENNIKER, N.H.—Junior Joe Osaka (Tokyo, Japan) scored with 44 seconds left in regulation to help New England College defeat visiting Babson College, 4-3, in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) men's ice hockey action on Saturday afternoon at Lee Clement Arena.

Babson, which saw its eight-game unbeaten streak come to an end, closes the regular season 14-8-3 overall and 11-5-3 in league play, while New England College improves to 17-7-0 overall and 13-5-0 in the NEHC. By virtue of Saturday's result, the Pilgrims will be seeded second and the Beavers third in the upcoming conference tournament.

Senior Bill Seligman (Toronto, Ontario) finished with a goal and an assist, while classmates Dan Casey (Chatham, N.J.) and Patrick Young (Medford, Mass.) each scored once for Babson. Juniors Joe DePietto (Westbury, N.Y.), Bobby Hall (Westwood, Mass.) and Matt McMorrow (Pearl River, N.Y.), and first-year Ryan McDougall (Milton, Mass.) all recorded an assist in the loss. Sophomore goaltender Bryan Botcher (Mequon, Wis.), who was unbeaten in his previous four starts, made 27 saves for the Beavers.

Junior Scott Cornfield (Brea, Calif.), sophomore Mike Whitehair (Victor, N.Y.) and first-year William Riise (Charlottenlund, Denmark) all scored for New England College, who got 29 saves from senior Brett Kilar (Coto de Caza, Calif.).

Young got the Green and White on the board just 6:21 into the first period with his second goal of the season. The Pilgrims answered back just over six minutes later though, as Cornfield scored with nine seconds remaining on the power play to make it 1-1 at the 12:44 mark.

Botcher made four of his 12 second-period saves after the Beavers were whistled for a tripping penalty at 12:11 to keep the game deadlocked going to the final 20 minutes. Seligman broke the tie with his sixth goal of the year 4:50 into the third before New England College answered back with a pair of tallies less than three minutes apart to take its first lead of the game.

Riise tied the game at 2-2 when he gained control of a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat Botcher at the 7:28 mark. Whitehair then made it 3-2 at 10:12 with his ninth goal of the year despite the net coming off the moorings.

The Beavers pulled Botcher for an extra attacker with 2:11 remaining and Casey scored 39 seconds later to tie the game at 3-3. DePietto threw a shot on net from the top of the left face-off circle that was stopped by Kilar, but Casey was all alone at the top of the crease to bury the rebound for his seventh tally of the year.

Osaka put an end to the wild five-goal third period at the 19:16 mark when he gained control of a loose puck in the offensive zone and slipped a shot past Botcher from between the circles for the game winner.

The Green and White, which went 0-for-1 on the power play, finished with a 32-31 edge in shots.

Both teams will open NEHC Tournament play with quarterfinal contests at home next Saturday. Third-seeded Babson will host sixth-seeded UMass Boston at 7 p.m., while second-seeded New England College will take on seventh-seeded Southern Maine.

GAME NOTES
•    The Beavers are 39-19-6 all-time against New England College, but saw its 11-game winning streak against the Pilgrims come to an end on Saturday.
•    Saturday's loss snapped Babson's six-game road unbeaten streak.
•    Babson is now 7-3 this season in games decided by one goal.
•    Saturday's setback dropped the Beavers record to 61-3-4 when scoring three or more goals dating back to February 10, 2013.

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