Men's hockey kicks off 2020 with tie against Skidmore

Jon Beniers '21 (Josh McKee photo)
Jon Beniers '21 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College scored twice in the second period and the Continentals went on to a 2-2 tie against the Skidmore College Thoroughbreds in a non-conference game played at the historic Clinton Arena on Friday night.

The game was sponsored by Access Federal Credit Union and proceeds from ticket sales benefitted Clinton Youth Hockey. Hamilton (3-5-1 overall), which went to overtime for the first time this season, was playing for the first time in nearly four weeks. Skidmore and the Continentals will meet again at Saratoga Springs Ice Rink on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.

The Thoroughbreds (7-2-3) received votes in the USCHO.com Division III Top 15 poll that was released on Dec. 9. Skidmore is unbeaten in its last six games (4-0-2).

Hamilton's Jon Beniers '21 and defenseman Sean Thomson '23 scored their first goals this season and Anthony Tirabassi '20 made 23 saves. Nick Ursitti '20 had the primary assist on Thomson's goal and is tied for the team lead with five points.

The Thoroughbreds tied the score with 2:30 left in the third period. Skidmore's David Poirier controlled a bouncing puck at his own blue line after the Continentals had lofted it high in the air and cleared it out of their defensive zone. Poirier skated back into his defensive end and then skated up the middle of the ice into the Thoroughbreds' offensive zone. He sent a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that caromed off a Hamilton defender in front of the crease and past a surprised Tirabassi.

The Continentals were credited with all three shots on goal in the five-minute overtime period, but Brandon Kasel (30 saves) stopped them all. Hamilton also had a power play for the last 55 seconds after a Skidmore player was sent to the penalty box for hooking.

Beniers tied the score at 1-1 at 7:51 of the second period. He snapped a wrist shot from the slot that was blocked by the Thoroughbreds' Austin Rook, collected the rebound and scored from the left faceoff circle.

Thomson gave the Continentals a 2-1 lead with 4:45 remaining in the second. Ursitti had a breakaway opportunity after Skidmore turned over the puck near the Hamilton blue line and he skated in alone on Kasel. His shot sailed high over the net but the rebound bounced back in front and Thomson, who was trailing the play, scored from point-blank range.

The Thoroughbreds scored the first goal with 6:32 to go in the first period. Tim Allen won a faceoff on the right side of the Skidmore offensive zone and the puck went to Owen Campbell near the boards. Campbell quickly passed to Reid Russell and his wrist shot from above the right circle somehow found its way through traffic into the back of the net. Allen won all six of his faceoffs.

The Thoroughbreds hit the post twice with shots in the third period. Matthew Rutigliano -- brother of Continentals' team captain Nick Rutigliano '22 -- clanged one off the right post with 7:54 left. Avery Steele smacked one off the left post with 3:26 remaining.