AMHERST, Mass. — The Colby College men’s hockey team exploded for five unanswered goals and will play in the New England Small College Athletic Conference Final Four after a 5-1 road win at third-seeded Amherst College on Saturday at Orr Rink.
After a wild day of NESCAC hockey, the sixth-seeded Mules (13-10-2 overall) will play No. 5 Wesleyan next Saturday at Trinity College in a semifinal game. Colby will have some revenge on its mind after falling to Wesleyan in last year’s NESCAC quarterfinal round at Alfond Rink.
Three of the four lower seeds won quarterfinal games. Williams, the seventh seed, took a 4-2 win over second-seeded Connecticut College. Wesleyan was a 2-1 winner against fourth-seeded Hamilton, while top-seeded Trinity won 2-0 over No. 8 Tufts.
Colby advances to the NESCAC Final Four for the eighth time since the league started a playoff system for the 2000-2001 season. However, the Mules have never advanced to the title game.
* Colby scored three times in the second period after Amherst led 1-0 after the first intermission. Mario Benicky scored the first of his two goals on a wrist shot just 1:57 into the second period.
* With the momentum of that key goal, Michael Rudolf scored the game-winning goal after winning a face-off. His shot from the left dot got between the legs of Amherst goalkeeper Connor Girard at 6:18 of the second. Billy Overby and Spencer Hewson had assists on the score.
* The Mules picked up the big third goal on Benicky’s breakaway goal. He is wrister over Girard’s glove came with 5:54 left in the period.
* An Amherst miscue on its own blue line led to a breakaway goal by Phil Klitirinos with 7:48 left in the game. Benicky had his third point of the game with an assist.
* Justin Grillo scored an empty net goal off an assist from Thomas Stahlhuth with 1:29 to play to make it 5-1. Colby fell 5-1 to the Mammoths in the regular season game at Amherst, but took a 4-1 victory at Alfond Rink to split the season series.
By the numbers
* Colby goalie Sean Lawrence came ready to play and finished with 36 saves. He made 19 saves in the final period.