The Hamilton College men’s hockey team closed out the 2015 portion of its schedule on a high note, shutting out visiting Williams 1-0 in NESCAC action Saturday at Russell Sage Rink. 

Box score

The shutout marked the first time the Continentals had blanked a nationally ranked opponent (Williams is 14th) since a 3-0 win over eighth-ranked Middlebury Dec. 9, 2011.

Evan Buitenhuis ’18 made 42 saves and Jon Stickel ’19 – playing against his older brother for the first time in his collegiate career – scored the game’s only goal as the Continentals (4-3-1, 2-2-1 NESCAC) posted their first 1-0 win in 13 years. Hamilton's last 1-0 win came 327 games ago when the Continentals edged visiting Utica Dec. 10, 2002.

The Ephs (5-2-1, 4-1-1), who entered the game with Division III’s top scoring defense, suffered their first NESCAC loss of the season.

Buitenhuis – who has made 173 saves over his last four games – picked up his second shutout of the season and his third in 12 career appearances. He ranks ninth nationally in goals-against average (1.55) and third in save percentage (.957).

Stickel, whose brother Luke skated on Williams’ fourth line, scored his second goal of the year just over six minutes into the final period. He took a pass from Rory Gagnon ’19 and scored on a wrist shot from just inside the left faceoff circle.

The Ephs had outshot the hosts 40-25 up to that point but the Continental defense – which now ranks sixth nationally – held Williams to two more shots over the game’s final 14 minutes. The Ephs were unable to get a shot on goal while skating the final 65 seconds with an extra attacker after pulling goaltender Michael Pinios.

Pinios finished with 30 saves to take the loss in the defensive battle. Stickel’s goal was just the third he’s surrendered in four games and he continues to lead Division III in save percentage and GAA.

Luke Stickel, a junior forward at Williams, took six shots (including four that were saved by Buitenhuis). He won four face-offs and blocked a shot.

Hamilton has now won three straight against the Ephs, marking the Continentals’ longest winning streak in the series since a four-game stretch between 1998 and 2001.

The Continentals’ top-ranked penalty killing unit turned in another stellar performance. Buitenhuis needed to make just two saves during Williams’ three power-play opportunities. In the Ephs’ first two tries – which included 25 seconds of five-on-three – Hamilton actually outshot the visitors 2-1.

Hamilton is idle until Jan. 1 when the Continentals will ring in the new year with a 4 p.m. non-league game against Skidmore. The contest will be played at the nearby Clinton Arena.

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