Beavers Clinch Third Seed in Upcoming NEHC Tournament
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior Matt McMorrow (Pearl River, N.Y.) scored twice and junior Matt Brazel (Hingham, Mass.) added a goal and an assist as Babson College defeated New England College, 4-2, in New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) on Saturday afternoon at Babson Skating Center.
Babson, which is unbeaten over its last five games, ends the regular season at 14-8-3 overall and 12-4-2 in conference play. The Beavers will be the third seed in the upcoming conference tournament. New England College (12-11-2, 7-10-1) has dropped five of its last six games and will be seeded fifth in the NEHC playoffs.
Senior Charlie Ackerman (Bradenton, Fla.) scored once, junior Tommy Munichiello (Weymouth, Mass.) had two assists, and seniors Josh Casper (Lake Forest, Ill.) and Ryan Gouveia (Dartmouth, Mass.) both chipped in with an assist for the Green and White. Junior goaltender Bryan Botcher (Mequon, Wis.) finished with 25 saves to post his fifth win in six starts.
Sophomore Adam Zollner (Varnamo, Sweden) and first-year Nicholas Rein (Calgary, Alberta) both had a goal, while seniors Bryce Nielsen (Laguna Hills, Calif.) and Joe Osaka (Tokyo, Japan) each recorded an assist for the Pilgrims. Classmate Kyle Shapiro (Ocean Township, N.J.) made 26 saves in defeat.
Babson jumped on top 1-0 less than nine minutes into the first period when Ackerman notched his ninth goal of the year with a wrister from the slot off a feed from Munichiello. New England College tied it when Rein tapped home a loose puck that got behind Botcher in the crease for his first career tally at the 15:00 mark.
The Beavers wasted little time going back in front as McMorrow notched the first of his two goals off a rebound of Casper's shot from the point just 52 seconds later. He scored his second of the game and eighth of the season 5:33 into the second period, this time going to the backhand to fake out Shapiro before lifting a shot over the outstretched goaltender for a 3-1 advantage.
The Pilgrims cut their deficit in half when Nielsen's shot from the blue line deflected off the chest of Zollner for a power play goal at 10:50 of the second to make it 3-2. The Green and White killed off four of five penalties over the final two periods, and got some breathing room when Brazel beat Shapiro glove side with a wrist shot following a neutral zone turnover for a two-goal lead with 10:23 left.
Both teams return to action next Saturday in the NEHC Tournament quarterfinals. Babson will host sixth-seeded Skidmore at 7 p.m., while New England College will travel to fourth-seeded UMass Boston.
• The Beavers took two of three meetings against the Pilgrims this season and is 41-21-6 all-time against NEC.
• Babson is 14-4-3 in the month of February going back to 2015.
• The Green and White is 13-3-2 this season and 41-5-4 since the start of 2015-16 when scoring at least three goals.
• The Beavers, who have won three straight home games, are 7-3-1 this season inside the Babson Skating Center.