Lily Ives ’23
If you’re looking for a story of nail-biting overtime thrillers, this isn’t the one for you. The Trinity men’s ice hockey team put their stamp on the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) hockey tournament by dominating play and leaving no doubt as to which NESCAC team reigned supreme on the ice.
From the first drop of the puck, the Bantams fierce play set the tone for how this tournament would play out. First, the Trinity men opened up against the number ten seeded Connecticut College in a quarterfinal game on Sunday, February 27th. It took 11 seconds into the game for Trinity to find the net, with a goal by senior Lucas Michaud. After another long 11 second stint, the next goal was scored by Bantam sophomore Gerard Maretta. Just 22 seconds into the game Trinity held a 2-0 lead. The first period was completely controlled and owned by Trinity, with two more goals coming from junior Paul Selleck and senior Cole Poliziani, rocketing the score to 4-0 in favor of the Bantams. Time and again, the Camels ran into a brick wall as they tried to attack the physical Trinity defense with no luck at all. Trinity added one last goal in the third period for good measure, as senior Lucas Michaud scored his second goal of the game, on a Bantam power play.
Furiously rolling off a commanding 5-0 win versus the Camels, the Bantams were now set to showcase yet another dominating performance against the number three ranked Williams Ephs. In this semifinal NESCAC game, the Bantams faced off against the Ephs in Waterville, Maine on Saturday, March 5th. Trinity again found the net first and early into the game, with a goal coming from senior Cole Poliziani seconds after the one-minute mark of the first period. Only six minutes later, Trinity put another one away from first-year Bantam Richard Boysen. Trinity’s third goal came on a power play, late into the second period, netted by sophomore Devan Tongue. The Bantams powerfully put the nail in the coffin in the third period, with a fourth and final goal coming of the stick of sophomore Kyle Tomaso, on a feed from junior Paul Selleck. On the defensive end, sophomore goalie J.P. Mella stood tall in net, recording an impressive 21 saves in his shutout performance.
Just one day later, the Bantams took to the ice in the NESCAC championship game versus the number one seeded Colby College Mules on Sunday, March 6th. Right from the drop of first face-off it was apparent to all those watching this championship game who the true number one team was on the ice that day. Sophomore Gerard Maretta led the offensive surge for the Bantams netting two goals, one in the first and another in the second period, giving the Bantams a 2-0 lead over the Mules. Sophomore Jax Murray then opened the scoring just 33 seconds into the third period, on a Bantam power play, giving Trinity a comfortable and commanding 3-0 lead. Colby’s Jack Sullivan responded late into the third period with Colby’s first and only goal.
Responding to allowing the only goal scored against them in the entire NESCAC tournament, Trinity senior Connor Sundquist struck back quickly with a goal, giving the Bantam’s a 4-1 lead and sealing the deal for the Bants taking home the NESCAC title. Sophomore goalie J.P. Mella showcased yet another outstanding performance for the Bantams, recording 30 saves. Mella finished the NESCAC tournament with two shoutouts and only one goal allowed, as he shut down Connecticut College, Williams, and Colby, aided by sensational performances by the Bantam defense.
Fueled by an inspired team effort, the talented Trinity team stormed the NESCAC tournament and proudly secured their sixth conference title in program history. In the end, there was simply no doubt as to who was best in the NESCAC league, and that honor again rests with the Trinity Bantams of Hartford.
The print version of this article misattributed the correct author.