GENEVA, N.Y. – No. 7/7 Endicott, the inaugural Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) men's ice hockey champions, accomplished another first on Saturday evening by picking up the conference's first win in the NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship. The Gulls defeated No. 5/4 Hobart, 4-3, on the road to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday, March 18.
Endicott will play NESCAC champion No. 8/9 Trinity in the quarterfinals with game time and location still to be announced. The Bantams defeated No. 12/12 Plattsburgh State, 4-1, in their First Round game.
The Gulls jumped out to an early lead on the Statesmen with a late first period goal. They added two more in the second to establish a 3-0 lead halfway through the game. Hobart was able to battle back and closed out the second stanza with a flurry, scoring three goals in just over four minutes to tie the game at three. Midway through the final period, freshman Jason Kalinowski (Stamford, Conn.) put home the game-winner and earned his team a trip to the quarterfinals.
The four quarterfinal winners will advance to Utica, New York, at the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the semifinal and championship games, which will be conducted March 24-25. Utica College will host the championship.
Endicott 4, Hobart 3
GENEVA, N.Y. – The No. 7/7 nationally ranked Endicott men's ice hockey team won its first-ever NCAA Tournament game on Saturday night with a 4-3 first round victory over No. 4/5 Hobart at The Cooler.
The Gulls, who are only in their second year as a NCAA Division III varsity program, made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history tonight against the Statesmen after capturing the inaugural Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship last weekend (March 4). Endicott (24-3-2) will now play No. 8/9 Trinity (19-6-3) in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal round on Saturday, March 18 at a time and place to be determined later.
Tied 3-3 midway through the third, Endicott freshman Jason Kalinowski (Stamford, Conn.) finished a feed in the slot from point blank range to give the Gulls a 4-3 advantage at 10:50 of the period.
Endicott was then forced to earn the win on defense the rest of the way as the Blue and Green killed off three straight penalties at 11:33, 15:15, and 17:19, respectively, down the stretch before final buzzer sounded.
Kevin Aldridge (Birmingham, Mich.) also played an instrumental role in the victory over the final 9:10 of action coming up with eight saves during that time span. Aldridge finished the night with an even 40 saves, which marks his fifth 40-save performance of the season.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Tonight's game was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
- Endicott has won 12 games in a row.
- Frank Spellman (Des Moines, Iowa) scored Endicott's first-ever NCAA Tournament goal with his first tally of the season at the 14:35 mark of the first.
- Tommy Besinger (Milton, Mass.) found the back of the net at 4:04 of the second, while Kalinowski also redirected a Michael Heidkamp (Marietta, Ga.) shot at 12:08 of the same period to give the Gulls a 3-0 lead.
- Endicott's defense blocked six shots after Kalinowski's eventual game-winner to help preserve the victory.
- Aldridge is 21-3-2 on the year.
FOR THE FOES
- Hobart rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the second with three unanswered goals over a 4:17 (14:10-18:27) span on tallies from Nick Bingaman (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Bo Webster (Aurora, Ontario), and Tyler Wolf (Naperville, Ill.).
- Frank Oplinger (Sewickley, Pa.) had 28 saves in the loss (11-5-2).
- Endicott is ranked No. 7 in both the D3hockey.com and USCHO.com polls
- Hobart is ranked No. 4 via USCHO and No. 5 by D3hockey
- Trinity is ranked No. 8 by D3hockey and No. 9 by USCHO
Game recap courtesy of the Endicott Sports Information Department.
NCAA Tournament First Round
Saturday, March 11 (at Hobart College)
Endicott def. Hobart, 4-3 | BOX
Saturday, March 18 (Site TBA)
Endicott vs. Trinity, TBA
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of ten full member and three associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference currently administers championships in 16 intercollegiate sports with that number set to increase next year with the addition of football.