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Men's hockey drops tough 5-4 quarterfinal game to Cardinals

WATERVILLE, Maine -- After Colby College tied the game 49 seconds into the third period, seventh-seeded Wesleyan University scored just 12 seconds later and held on the rest of the way for a 5-4 victory in NESCAC men's hockey quarterfinal play Saturday at Alfond Rink.

The Cardinals (13-8-4 overall) will play top-seeded Hamilton College in a NESCAC semifinal next Saturday at Hamilton. The second-seeded Mules end the season at 13-7-4.

Wesleyan took a 4-3 lead into the third period, but Colby needed just 49 seconds to tie the game. The Mules did a nice job keeping the puck in the Wesleyan zone. Jack Burton's shot from the left point was redirected by Michael Rudolf for the score.

The Cardinals won a battle in front of the benches right off the face-off. James Kline was able to push the puck out to Luke Babcock, who immediately took off toward the Colby goal. Mule goalie Sean Lawrence got a piece of the shot, but the puck trickled into the net at 1:01.

After the teams combined for six goals in a span of 21:01 from the start of the second period, neither team was able to manage a score over the final 18:59.

Babcock's hustle helped the Cardinals score just 3:08 into the game to take a 1-0 lead. He was able to keep the puck in the zone on the blue line and got to the right corner to win another puck battle. Babcock passed the puck to Chad Malinowski at the right point for a blast, but Kline was in front and tipped the puck in for the goal.

The Mules scored twice in the final 2:12 of the period to go up 2-1. The first goal was similar to the Wesleyan score. Mark Leprine was able to win a battle on the boards and got the puck to Nick O'Connor at the right point. O'Connor's long shot was tipped in by first-year Kienan Scott. 

With just 1:06 left in the first period, the Mules scored in transition. Scott Fenwick passed the puck to the left corner to Thomas Stahlhuth, who immediately ripped a pass in front to first-year JP Schuhlen for the goal.

Colby was unbeaten at 6-0-3 this year after taking a lead into the first period. However, Wesleyan answered off a two-on-one with Vincent Lima and Dylan Holze. Lima pushed a nice pass to Holze, who was patient and got Lawrence to the ice before tying the game at 2-2.

Devin Albert's hustle to the left boards to win a puck helped Colby go up 3-2 at 11:03 of the second period. Albert got the puck behind the net to Phil Klitirinos (pictured) to the right of the goal. Geoff Sullivan was moving in from his defensive spot and scored on a one-timer from Klitirinos.

Wesleyan refused to give up and scored twice in the final 3:08 of the second period. Cardinal goalie Dawson Sprigings made a point-blank save on Albert with 3:24 to play. In a transition play, Spencer Fox took the puck all the way up the ice with Holze on his right side. Fox dumped the puck to Holze and skated into a defender to allow Holze to get space for the goal.

With 49.5 seconds to play, the Cardinals took a 4-3 lead into intermission. Mike Yablong had a long shot that Holze got a piece of that went to Tyler Wyatt on the left side of the goal. Wyatt was able to adjust his stick position and scored.

Sprigings finished with 27 saves, including 12 in the final period. Lawrence stopped 19 shots.

Wesleyan 5, Colby 4

Scoring by Period - WES 1-3-1=5; CLB 2-1-1=4

1st Period
Scoring - 1, WES James Kline/9 (Luke Babcock/2, Chad Malinowski/15) 3:08
2, CLB Kienan Scott/6 (Mark Leprine/10, Nick O'Connor/4) 17:48
3, CLB J.P. Schuhlen/4 (Scott Fenwick/1, Thomas Stahlhuth/3) 18:54
Penalties - James Kline, WES (Cross-Checking) 8:33; Michael Rudolf, CLB (Cross-Checking) 12:16

2nd Period
Scoring - 4, WES Dylan Holze/8 (Vincent Lima/5, Spencer Fox/5) 5:22
5, CLB Geoff Sullivan/6 (Phil Klitirinos/17, Devin Albert/13) 11:03
6, WES Dylan Holze/9 (Spencer Fox/6) 16:52
7, WES Tyler Wyatt/3 (Spencer Fox/7, Dylan Holze/11) 19:10
Penalties - None

3rd Period
Scoring - 8, CLB Michael Rudolf/10 (Jack Burton/16, Phil Klitirinos/18) 0:49
9, WES Luke Babcock/4 (James Kline/16) 1:01 (GW)
Penalties - None

Wesleyan Goaltending - Dawson Sprigings (60:00, 31 shots, 27 saves, 4 GA)

Colby Goaltending - Sean Lawrence (58:40, 24 shots, 19 saves, 5 GA); Empty Net (1:20, 0 GA)

Win - Dawson Sprigings, WES (8-5-3). Loss - Sean Lawrence, CLB (6-4-1).

Shots On Goal - WES 10-10-4=24; CLB 11-7-13=31

Power Plays - WES 0 of 1; CLB 0 of 1

Penalties - WES 1 (2 min); CLB 1 (2 min)

New Records - Wesleyan 13-8-4, Colby 13-7-4

Referees: Mike Pleau, Tom Cronin  Linesmen: Steve Benoit, Josh Vanderhaar

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