Henniker, NH - The Central Maine Community College hockey team had an up and down weekend as they embarked on their first two road games since winning their opener at Dartmouth all the way back in September. The Mustangs would topple Gordon College on Saturday night by a final count of 8-0 before falling to New England College 9-4 on Sunday afternoon to split the weekend road swing.
Against Gordon the Mustangs were relentless, firing 71 shots on net as the team built a 2-0 lead in the first period. Carl Bear, Sean Coleman, and Alec Howes each scored twice—Howes' goals were the first two of his college career—as the Mustangs methodically buried the Fighting Scots at Raymond J. Bourque Arena at Endicott College. Anthony Tilelli made 14 saves in the shutout, which was the first shutout in program history.
"The Gordon game was a real good step for us," said head coach Matt Buotte. "We played a complete game. In the offensive zone we were potent, always buzzing. In the defensive zone we did a great job of limiting chances. It was also awesome to see Anthony pick up the shutout and Alec [Howes] be rewarded for his hard work with his first goals. Overall, just a great night at the rink."
The Mustangs then traveled north to take on rival New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire as the Pilgrims opened their season by hosting Central Maine. The home side would get off to a quick start, scoring twice early to jump out of a 2-0 lead. Trevor Roche would pull one back for the Mustangs midway through the first to send the game to the first intermission with a 2-1 New England College lead.
"We had a really good first period," said Buotte. "The second was an extreme disappointment."
The aforementioned second period was a disaster for the Mustangs, seeing New England College pull ahead to a 5-1 lead before Shawn Sullivan pulled one back for the visitors on a breakaway feed from Parker Springer. The momentum would be short-lived, however, as the Pilgrims rattled off three unanswered goals to end the second period ahead 8-2.
The Mustangs would show character in the third despite the huge deficit. Jordy Knoren would score a nifty goal to trim the lead to 8-3 before Dana Taylor-Fifeld scored his first of the year to wrap up the scoring in a 9-4 Mustang defeat. Jacob Strout made 38 saves in defeat.
"Jacob was phenomenal," said Buotte afterward. "He was brilliant. He made a handful of incredible saves. I just wish we had given him a little more support in front of him. We're making it a habit of hanging him out to dry and frankly, it's unacceptable. We need to tighten up going forward."
The Mustangs have a busy week ahead. The team travels to Mass Maritime on Wednesday before returning home to host the University of New England on Friday at 7:00. The team will then hit the road again to take on Suffolk Community College on Saturday evening.
"It's a big week for our team," continued Buotte. "We will learn a lot about ourselves this week. We'll have a good day of practice on Tuesday and then a fast start at MMA on Wednesday. Our third period against New England College was excellent. Now we need to carry that passion, that energy over to the week ahead and I think it'll be a great week."