Men's hockey opens season with romp of Middlebury, 9-1

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- J.P. Schuhlen and Mario Benicky both had hat tricks as the Colby College men's hockey team opened the season with a 9-1 drubbing of Middlebury College at Kenyon Arena on Saturday night.

The Mules (1-0 overall, 1-0 NESCAC) will play at Williams College in a NESCAC game Sunday at 3 p.m.
 
Since the NESCAC started a playoff system for the 2000-01 season, Colby has had three league games with more than nine goals. The 2002-03 team took a stunning 11-0 win over Amherst College in a NESCAC quarterfinal game at home. The Mules also have two games with 10 goals against Connecticut College in the 2001-02 and 2004-05 seasons.
 
How it happened
* Benicky (pictured) scored just 2:43 into the game on a one-timer slap shot off a beautiful cross by Michael Rudolf. Phil Klitirinos also was credited with an assist.
 
* The Mules scored the first of their four power play goals at 6:48 for a 2-0 margin. Michael Decker started the play by finding Nick O'Connor about 20 feet in front of the goal. O'Connor put a pass to the left of the goal to Thomas Stahlhuth, whose backhand shot was stopped. However, O'Connor went directly to the goal on the shot and stuffed in the rebound.
 
* After Middlebury scored just 18 seconds later, the Mules went up 3-1 at 4:14 of the second period on Schuhlen's first goal. Decker got his second assist when he pushed a long pass to Kienan Scott, who had a pinpoint pass to Schuhlen just as he was going over the blue line. Schuhlen skated in on net all alone and started a run of seven straight goals.
 
* Schuhlen banged in a rebound off a shot by Cam MacDonald to make it 4-1 at 12:26 of the second period. Decker picked up his third assist.
 
* Colby first-years Sean Holly and Joe Schuler scored their first collegiate goals to turn the game into a rout at 6-1. Holly scored from in front off a centering pass from Kienan Scott. Justin Grillo had his first collegiate assist on the play. Schuler scored from O'Connor at 10:26 of the third period.
 
* Benicky made it 7-1 off the first collegiate assist from Brendan Murphy at 12:30 of the final period. Benicky then tallied just 35 seconds later on assists from Klitirinos and goalie Sean Lawrence.
 
* Schuhlen scored the final goal with 1:08 remaining from Dan Dupont and O'Connor.
 
* Lawrence finished with 22 saves in goal for the Mules. Middlebury played three goalies, combining for 30 stops.
 
Boxscore