Beavers Advance to Conference Semifinals For Seventh Cosnecutive Season
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Sophomore Patrick Flynn (Framingham, Mass.) scored his second goal of the game at 7:10 of the third period to help No. 15 USCHO.com/RV D3hockey.com Babson College defeat visiting Skidmore College, 2-1, in a New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament quarterfinal on Saturday night inside the Babson Skating Center.
Third-seeded Babson improves to 17-6-3 overall and advances to the conference semifinals for the seventh year in a row. Sixth-seeded Skidmore, which entered the night riding a three-game unbeaten streak, closes the season at 13-10-3 overall.
Senior Matt Brazel (Hingham, Mass.), junior Ryan McDougall (Milton, Mass.) and first-years Ryan Black (Pomfret, Conn.) and Cole Sanderson (Basking Ridge, N.J.) all recorded an assist for the Beavers. Senior netminder Bryan Botcher (Mequon, Wis.) matched his season high with 39 saves to pick up his first career postseason victory.
First-year Callahan Johnson (Billerica, Mass.) had a goal, while senior Corey Morgan (Ridgewood, N.J.) and junior John Litscher (Haymarket, Va.) each registered an assist for the Thoroughbreds. Junior goaltender Brandon Kasel (Ithaca, N.Y.) turned away 29 shots in defeat.
Skidmore jumped on top 1-0 nearly nine minutes into the contest when Johnson stuffed home a rebound at the top of the crease. Botcher got a piece of sophomore Paul Vella's (Staten Island, N.Y.) shot from the left wing on a 3-on-2 rush, and stoned Morgan and Litscher on back-to-back rebound attempts before Johnson struck for his third goal of the year.
The Green and White killed a penalty late in the first period and then took advantage of its first power play late in the second to pull even. Sanderson's shot from the right point deflected off the skate of a Thoroughbreds' defender to Flynn, who roofed a shot from the left face-off circle past Kasel for his 10th goal of the year at the 16:41 mark.
Skidmore appeared to go back in front less than two minutes later, but Muzyka's goal was disallowed. Following the stoppage, Kasel made a brilliant sliding save to deny Black's bid from the slot, sending the game into the second intermission deadlocked at 1-1.
Botcher made five of his 10 third-period saves over the opening five minutes of the frame, and Flynn put Babson in front for good with just under 13 minutes to play. Kasel made a pad save on Black's shot from the left wing, but Brazel got to the loose puck out top and circled the net before flipping it in front for Flynn, who scored the eventual game winner at the left post.
Botcher made back-to-back stops on Skidmore first-years Will and Avery Steele (Colchester, Vt.) with 4:48 to go, and Avery Steele saw his shot from the left wing glance off the crossbar with just under a minute remaining. The Beavers, down a man late after the Thoroughbreds brought on an extra attacker, blocked three shots over the final 30 seconds to secure the win.
Babson returns to action next Saturday when it travels to Norwich for a semifinal clash at 7 p.m.
• The Beavers are 33-6-2 all-time against Skidmore, which includes a 10-0 mark in the conference playoffs. Babson also extended its unbeaten streak against the Thoroughbreds to 17 games with Saturday's victory.
• The Green and White has won its last nine conference playoff games inside the Babson Skating Center, and has allowed a total of just 12 goals in those contests.
• Saturday's goals were the first in three career postseason games for Flynn, who had one assist in two playoff contests last winter.
• With one assist in Saturday's win, Brazel has now produced eight assists and 11 points in eight career postseason outings.