Men's hockey doubles up Colby in NESCAC home win

Josh Labonte '21 scored his first goal this season and assisted on two others in a 4-2 win over Colby at Sage Rink on January 4 (Josh McKee photo).
Josh Labonte '21 scored his first goal this season and assisted on two others in a 4-2 win over Colby at Sage Rink on January 4 (Josh McKee photo).

Hamilton College's Josh Labonte '21 posted his first multi-point game and the Continentals recorded a 4-2 NESCAC win against the Colby College Mules at Hamilton's Russell Sage Rink on Friday night.

The Continentals (5-5-1, 3-2-1 NESCAC) have won three straight games against Colby and four of their last five against the Mules since the start of the 2016-17 season. Colby (5-3-2, 2-3-1) came into Friday evening unbeaten in its last seven contests with five wins and two ties.

Labonte -- a defenseman -- led Hamilton with a goal and two assists. The three points are Labonte's first this season. Rory Gagnon '19 and Joey Moore '22 chipped in a goal and an assist apiece, and Jason Brochu '19 and Jordi Jefferson '22 were both credited with two helpers. Anthony Tirabassi '20 made 31 saves and won his fourth game this season.

Labonte's pass from above the right faceoff circle found Gagnon near the left post and he redirected the puck past Andrew Tucci (27 saves) for a 2-1 Continentals lead with 1:13 left in the second period, and just 18 seconds after a Mules power play ended.

Labonte made it 3-1 with a power-play goal 1:22 into the third period when he scored on a wrist shot from just above the left faceoff dot. Nick Ursitti '20 gave Hamilton a 4-1 cushion on his third goal this season with 4:54 remaining. Gagnon gained possession of the puck in Hamilton's defensive zone and carried it all the way up the left side into the Continentals' offensive zone. Gagnon skated into the left faceoff circle and sent the puck to Ursitti in the slot where he one-timed it into the back of the net.

J.P. Schuhlen pulled Colby within two goals with 50.8 seconds to go and the Mules took Tucci out for an extra skater five seconds later, but they mustered just one shot on goal during the final 46 seconds.

Moore's first collegiate goal put Hamilton up 1-0 with 4:08 left in the first period. He scored from the right faceoff dot on a wrist shot that beat Tucci top shelf during a power play. Moore also won 10 of 17 faceoffs. Brendan Murphy evened the score for Colby at 6:36 of the second period.

The Continentals easily could have had six goals as Gagnon hit the crossbar 52 seconds into the second period and Justin Felhaber '21 (15 faceoff wins) clanged another shot off the crossbar with 4:52 remaining in the second while Hamilton was short-handed. Kienan Scott nearly pulled the Mules within 3-2 at 8:01 of the third when his one-timer from the right faceoff circle beat Tirabassi but banged off the left post and caromed back out to the high slot.

The Continentals host 4-5-1 Bowdoin College for another NESCAC game on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 3 p.m.