Men’s hockey celebrates a 2-0 NESCAC victory on Senior Day

#16 Jon Beniers ’21 and #26 Sterling Bray '20 (Josh McKee photo)
#16 Jon Beniers ’21 and #26 Sterling Bray '20 (Josh McKee photo)

Evan Buitenhuis '18 made 25 saves for the shutout and chipped in an assist on the game-winning goal as Hamilton College defeated Tufts University 2-0 on Sunday afternoon in NESCAC action at Russell Sage Rink.

Hamilton (14-6-2, 8-6-2 NESCAC) extends its unbeaten streak to five games. After starting the weekend in sixth place in the conference standings, the Continentals pushed up to a tie for fourth place with one more weekend remaining on the NESCAC schedule. Tufts (4-14-4, 3-10-3) lost its third straight and fell to ninth in the standings.

Sterling Bray '20 scored the game-winner 17:26 into the first period. Tufts' Charley Borek dumped the puck into the Hamilton zone and maneuvered past the defender for an open lane to the corner, but Buitenhuis reached the puck first and fired it along the boards to Jon Beniers '21 at the hash marks. Beniers flipped the puck to Bray in the neutral zone, Bray gathered the puck as he skated to the far faceoff circle, and he ripped a wrist shot under the blocker of Nik Nugnes (25 saves).

The Jumbos best chances to score came in the first period. Tufts broke out of its own zone with a 3-on-2 situation and Borek slapped a shot off the right pipe at 11:07. Borek hit the right pipe again at 14:19 when he whipped around the net and fired the puck past Buitenhuis.

Hamilton was outshot 12-9 in the second period but the defense stood strong, which included killing off a 5-on-3 Tufts power play for 1:38 after back-to-back penalties on the Continentals.

Buitenhuis flashed the leather 14:01 into the second period when Tufts' Clay Berger fired a shot on goal. Buitenhuis made the stick save and as the rebound flipped into the air he reached over his shoulder and grabbed the rubber. Buitenhuis continued his strong play when Tufts was on the power play 3:51 into the third when he stopped two consecutive shots in traffic.

Jason Brochu '19 scored an empty-net goal with 30.6 seconds remaining in the third period. Neil Conway '18 won the battle for the puck in Hamilton's corner and sailed it into the Tufts zone. Michael Gordon attempted to control the free puck for the Jumbos, but Brandon Willett '18 pushed him out of the way and passed to Brochu at the top of the faceoff circle for the insurance goal. Brochu leads the team with 22 points.

Hamilton wraps up the regular season on the road with two NESCAC games next weekend. The Continentals face off against Middlebury College on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. and travel to Williams College on Sunday at 3 p.m.