Men's hockey ready for NESCAC semifinal game with Cardinals

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Colby College men's hockey team wants to go where no other squad has gone before -- a trip to the New England Small College Athletic Conference title game and a chance to win the league championship.

The sixth-seeded Mules start the journey on Saturday at 1 p.m. against fifth-seeded Wesleyan University in a semifinal game at Trinity College. The host and top-seeded Bantams play seventh-seeded Williams College in the other semifinal at 4:30 p.m. The winners play for the league title Sunday at 2 p.m. All three games will be broadcast by the Northeast Sports Network https://www.nsnsports. net/conferences/nescac/
 
Since the conference started a playoff system for the 2000-2001 season, the Mules have been to the NESCAC Final Four seven times. However, Colby has yet to advance past the semifinal round. 
 
With nine seniors on the roster and a 3-0-2 record in the last five games, Colby is ready for the tournament.
 
"The guys are playing with a great deal of spirit and enjoyment and they are working hard so they can continue to feel that emotion," Colby head coach Blaise MacDonald said. "It is a tough league and hard to get to this point. We are excited by the prospect of competing against the best in the league and be a part of the trophy season."
 
Senior goalie Sean Lawrence has allowed just six goals in the past five games, posting a save percentage over 97 percent. He is fourth in the country in save percentage (.936) and has his goals against average down to 2.16.
 
Senior Michael Decker just earned All-NESCAC Second Team honors in leading the Colby defense. He is third on the Mules in assists with 14 and is second among NESCAC defensemen in scoring.
 
Sophomore forward Kienan Scott (8 goals, 15 assists) and senior forward Phil Klitirinos (7 goals, 16 assists) share the team lead in scoring with 23 points. Senior forward Cam MacDonald (12 goals, 8 assists) and junior forward Nick O'Connor (11 goals, 9 assists) each have 20 points.
 
The Mules (13-10-2 overall) get a Cardinals team with some firepower. Wesleyan and the Mules battled to a 3-3 overtime tie at Alfond Rink, but the Cardinals took a 5-1 win at Middletown. Wesleyan also took a 5-4 win over the Mules in a NESCAC quarterfinal game last year at Alfond Rink.
 
The Mules and Wesleyan combine to have five of the top seven scorers in the league. Scott and Klitirinos represent Colby, while Dylan Holze (16 goals, 10 assists) leads the conference with 26 points. Tyler Wyatt (9 goals, 16 assists) and Walker Harris (9 goals, 14 assists) also are in the top seven.
 
Sophomore goalie Tim Sestak has a .933 save percentage and a 2.06 goals against average for the Cardinals (13-7-5).
 
NESCAC Men's Hockey Championships
Quarterfinals - Saturday, Feb. 24
at Higher Seeds
No. 1 Trinity def. No. 8 Tufts, 2-0
No. 7 Williams def. No. 2 Connecticut College, 4-2
No. 6 Colby def. No. 3 Amherst, 5-1
No. 5 Wesleyan def. No. 4 Hamilton, 2-1
 
Semifinals - Saturday, March 3
at Trinity
No. 6 Colby vs. No. 5 Wesleyan - 1 p.m.
No. 7 Williams at No. 1 Trinity - 4:30 p.m.
 
Championship - Sunday, March 4
at Trinity
Semifinal Winners - 2 p.m.