AMHERST, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College men's ice hockey team allowed three goals in the final 4:02 of regulation to snap a tie in a 4-1 loss against nationally-regarded Amherst College on Tuesday afternoon at Orr Rink. The Purple Knights are 3-2-1, while the Mammoths, who are receiving votes toward both Division III national polls, improved to 1-0-1.
First-year Paul McAuliffe (Newton, Mass./Kimball Union Academy) scored his third goal in two games for the Purple and Gold, having now registered four points in that time, while classmate Andrew Olevitz (Winthrop, Mass./Northern Cyclones) dished off the assist. Junior Chris Johnson (Duxbury, Mass./Pomfret School) had 36 saves, and senior Eric Salzillo (Johnston, R.I./Boston Bandits) went 9-for-17 on faceoffs. Johnson became the seventh Purple Knight with 1,500 career saves, moving his total to 1,531.
Tuesday marked the Purple Knights' fourth near miss in as many years against Amherst, having trailed by one goal deep into the third period last year in an eventual 5-1 setback, allowing the winner with 1:15 remaining in a 4-3 loss in 2015, and standing tied until nearly midway through the third period in a 6-4 loss in 2014.
Sophomore Joey Lupo scored twice for the Mammoths, junior Phil Johansson posted a goal and an assist, and sophomore Patrick Daly scored. Senior Thomas Lindstrom and first-year Nick Bondra both dished out two assists, and classmate Michael Cullen stopped 15 shots.
The Purple Knights were outshot by a slim 7-5 margin during the first period but netted the only goal of the stanza. After Olevitz knocked the puck away from a Mammoth along the left boards, McAuliffe secured the loose puck in the circle before skating toward the blue line, where he turned and wristed a shot through senior Sam Finkelstein's (South Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial Prep) screen at 9:11.
Amherst rattled off 16 of the 20 shots attempted in the second frame, with Johnson making 15 stops, but Daly found the equalizer at 10:25. After a Saint Michael's giveaway behind the Mammoth net, Daly carried from his own zone to neutral ice, quickly creating a 2-on-1 with senior David White, who passed from the left circle into the slot for an unmarked Daly, who sent a shot into the right side of the net.
With the teams fighting for a 50/50 puck in the left corner and a little more than four minutes remaining in regulation, Lindstrom backhanded the puck into the left circle, where Lupo one-timed home the winner at 15:58. Right off of a faceoff win, first-year defender Noah Muller (Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Düsseldorfer EG) slapped a shot from the point on Cullen at 17:02, but the netminder made a glove save. Twelve seconds into an Amherst power play, Johansson padded the lead, sending home a one-timer from the right circle at 17:56. With Johnson amid leaving the ice for an extra skater, Lupo scored from neutral ice at 18:26 despite the netminder reversing course and heading back toward his crease while diving to try stopping the puck.
Each of the Purple Knights' next three games are against Northeast-10 Conference foes, beginning when they host Assumption College on Dec. 2 at 4 p.m.