No. 3 Men's Ice Hockey at No. 2 New England College
NEHC Tournament Semifinal
Saturday, February 25—7 p.m.
Lee Clement Arena—Henniker, N.H.
Babson and New England College will meet for the 65th time on Saturday night in a series that dates back to 1977. The Beavers hold a 39-19-6 edge all-time against the Pilgrims after the teams split the regular season series this winter.
Babson and New England College will meet for the 10th time overall in the postseason but just the second time since 2007 on Saturday. The Beavers are 4-5 overall and 1-2 in the semifinals against the Pilgrims, and will travel to Henniker for a postseason contest for the first time since 2009.
Babson senior Dan Casey tied the game at 18:28 of the third period, but junior Joe Osaka struck back with an unassisted goal 44 seconds later to lift New England College a 4-3 win on February 11 in Henniker. Seniors Bill Seligman and Patrick Young each scored once for the Beavers, while sophomore Mike Whitehair and first-year William Riise both notched third period goals for the Pilgrims.
LAST BABSON WIN
Seligman and juniors Rob Devaney and Charlie Ackerman all scored once as the Beavers defeated New England College, 3-0, on January 6 in Babson Park. Sophomore Matt Pompa stopped 32 shots, while junior Jake Donahue and sophomore Tommy Munichiello both recorded two assists apiece for Babson. Senior netminder Brett Kilar turned aside 35 shots for the Pilgrims.
SCOUTING THE PILGRIMS
Second-seeded New England College (18-7-0, 13-5-0 NEHC) extended its winning streak to seven with a 3-0 victory over seventh-seeded Southern Maine in a quarterfinal contest last Saturday. First-year Carlos Fornaris finished with a goal and an assist and Kilar made 12 of his 23 saves in the third period to record his fifth shutout of the year for the Pilgrims. Fornaris (8-20-28) has nine points over the last six games, sophomore Andreas Zollner (10-16-26) leads the team with five game-winning goals and junior Bryce Nielsen (9-14-23) has scored three times on the power play. Kilar, who is tied for the Division III lead in shutouts, ranks sixth nationally in save percentage (.941) and is 13th in the country with a 1.94 goals against average.
SCOUTING THE BEAVERS
Third-seeded Babson (15-8-3, 11-5-2 NEHC) advanced to the conference tournament semifinals for the 13th time in 15 years with a 7-3 win over sixth-seeded UMass Boston last Saturday. Devaney had two goals and one assist and classmate Ryan Gouveia scored twice for the Beavers, who broke a 2-2 deadlock with five third-period tallies. Munichiello (9-12-21) has scored four times on the power play, Devaney (8-13-21) has eight points in seven postseason outings and senior Michael Phillips (6-14-20) leads the team in assists to go along with two game-winning goals. Pompa and fellow sophomore Bryan Botcher have combined to post a 1.94 goals against average and a .935 save percentage to go along with five shutouts on the year.
The Beavers have won eight straight conference tournament semifinal contests, which includes three one-goal victories and five wins away from home since 2007.
SPECIAL TEAMS SEPARATOR
Babson is 12-1-1 on the year when scoring at least one power play goal, and has killed off 33 of its opponents last 36 power play chances going back to December 3, a span of 15 games.
FIRST GOAL MATTERS
The Green and White is 6-1-5 over its last 12 games against the Pilgrims and has scored the first goal nine times during this stretch.
Seligman (4-3-7), who has five goals and two assists for seven points over the last five games against New England College, has combined with Casey (3-3-6), Phillips (1-5-6) and fellow senior Tim Searles (1-3-4) for nine goals and 14 assists in 11 playoff games going back to 2014.
CONTINUING TO PRODUCE
Sophomore Matt Brazel, who was named to the NEHC All-Tournament team last season, contributed two assists in Saturday's win over UMass Boston and now has one goal and seven assists for eight points to go along with a +5 rating in four career postseason games.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Beavers have outscored NEHC opponents 44-22 over the second and third periods this season.