Hamilton 'pinks' up shutout win over Amherst
The Hamilton College men's hockey team continued its best streak in 62 years, blanking visiting Amherst 2-0 in a NESCAC game at Russell Sage Rink Friday. The Continentals pushed their unbeaten run to 10 games (8-0-2), marking the program’s best stretch since winning 14 straight games between 1952 and 1954.
The team held a Pink the Rink Game promotion for cancer awareness at the game, with proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society.
Hamilton’s top line contributed a pair of first-period goals and Evan Buitenhuis ’18 made 23 saves to record his third shutout of the season as the Continentals improved to 10-3-2 overall (6-2-2 NESCAC). Amherst, the defending NESCAC champion, fell to 4-3-3 in the conference (5-6-4 overall).
The shutout was the Continentals' third this winter, the team’s highest total in 12 seasons. Hamilton now is tied for first nationally in scoring defense (1.47).
The game’s only two goals came late in the first period. Robbie Murden ’17 scored his team-leading 12th goal of the year to open the scoring. With 4:11 left in the period, Neil Conway ’18 sent a lead pass from center ice to Murden who ripped a quick shot from above the right faceoff circle to the far post out of the reach of Amherst goaltender Dave Cunningham (32 saves).
Brandon Willett ’18 scored on a power play 50.9 seconds before intermission to provide an insurance goal. He took a pass from Conway and beat Cunningham to the stick side. Conway, who’s scored a point in seven straight games, picked up his third multiple-assist performance of the year. Murden also assisted on the goal, giving him 21 points on the season. He and Conway (17 points) are the NESCAC’s two leading scorers, averaging 1.40 and 1.13 points per game, respectively.
The Continentals’ own the nation’s ninth-best record and their unbeaten streak is Division III’s third-longest current stretch.
Buitenhuis allowed just one goal in the last 155 minutes, and raised his career total to four shutouts (in 18 career starts). He now owns Division III’s best save percentage (.959) and ranks second nationally with a 1.32 goals-against average.
The win snapped a 14-game series unbeaten streak for Amherst, who was 13-0-1 against the Continentals since the 2006-07 season. Hamilton hadn’t shut out Amherst since a 14-0 win in 1988.
Hamilton closes out its weekend Saturday with a 7 p.m. game against first-time opponent Daniel Webster. The game will be the Continentals’ last non-conference contest of the season.