Men's ice hockey clinches No. 1 seed in NESCAC Championship
Michael DiMare '14 scored two goals and Scott Hefferman '11 stopped 27 of 28 shots to lead Hamilton College to a 3-1 victory against Babson College in the final game of the ECAC East/NESCAC regular season for both teams at the Babson Skating Center on Feb. 19.
Hamilton (14-6-4 overall, 11-4-4 NESCAC) has earned the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC championship for the first time in the 12-year history of the event. The Continentals will host No. 8 seed Wesleyan University in a NESCAC quarterfinal on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m. Hamilton last hosted a postseason event in 2002. The Continentals are 6-0-2 in their last eight games, and 11-3-1 away from home this season.
DiMare is second on the team with 15 goals and 26 points in his rookie season. He has four goals in the last two games. Hefferman improved his record in goal to 12-4. He has a 2.62 goals against average and .906 save percentage.
Babson (9-13-3, 7-9-3 ECAC East) is winless in its last seven games. The Beavers are the fifth seed in the ECAC East championship, and will head to No. 4 seed Skidmore College for a quarterfinal matchup with the Thoroughbreds on Saturday.
Babson held a 10-5 shot advantage heading into the final minute of the first period, but the Continentals managed to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to DiMare's first goal of the afternoon with just 32.5 seconds remaining. After stealing the puck along the right boards in the Babson zone, DiMare skated in alone on Babson goalie Zeke Testa '13, and stuffed a shot through the five-hole.
Hamilton increased its advantage to 2-0 early in the second period. DiMare put a shot on net from the left side that was saved by Testa (23 saves). DiMare then picked up his own rebound, skated behind the net, and stuffed his second goal inside the far post at 3:15.
Babson finally got on the board midway through the second. Terry Woods '11 fired a shot from the left corner that deflected off Troy Starrett '14 and trickled over the goal line just inside the left post at 11:32. It was Starrett’s fourth goal, and it cut the Beavers’ deficit to 2-1.
The Continentals extended their lead back to two goals at 6:05 of the third period. Andrew Jelinek '13 took a lead pass from Sam Choate '12 on the right side and broke in alone on Testa. Jelinek then lifted a shot into the upper right corner for his third goal of the season. Joe Houk '13 was credited with his 15th assist on the play.
Babson held a 28-26 edge in shots, but was 0-for-6 on the power play. Hamilton was scoreless on four power-play chances.