Anna Maria Tops Nichols for First-Ever TCCC Victory

PAXTON, Mass. (03.24.11) Junior Mike Saulnier (Wrentham, Mass.) led all players with six points and five goals as Anna Maria College defeated Nichols College, 9-7, to earn their first The Commonwealth Coast Conference victory in program history.

The AMCATS have now won three straight contests, as well as four of their last five, evening their overall season record at 4-4, while improving to 1-2 in conference play. The loss drops the Bison to 2-2 (1-1 TCCC) on the year.

Saulnier led the way for the AMCATS with his six points on five goals and one assist, including the game-winning tally with just under seven minutes remaining. Sophomore Chris Summers (Long Valley, N.J.) earned a hat-trick in addition to scooping four ground balls, while graduate student Jaron Dalbeck (Princeton, Mass.) also added a goal.

Junior Brad Peterson (North Kingstown, R.I.) was outstanding at the defensive end, leading all players with 10 ground balls and three caused turnovers, while also dishing-out an assist. Sophomore Andrew Ellis (Fitchburg, Mass.) had one of his best games in net for the AMCATS, making a game-high 16 saves, including several clutch stops down the stretch, to earn his third win of the year.

The Bison were paced by senior Ryan Pacific's (Danbury, Conn.) team-high three goals and senior Tim Ahern's (Boca Raton, Fla.) three points, including a team-high two assists. Senior Tim Dooley (Tewksbury, Mass.) grabbed a team-high six ground balls and won 10 of 20 face-off attempts, while sophomore Christopher Barchard (Dracut, Mass.) contributed five ground balls and a team-best three caused turnovers on the night.

The AMCATS came out strong in the opening quarter, scoring three goals in the first seven minutes of action, including two unassisted tallies by Summers, to build a 3-0 advantage.

The Bison answered by scoring the final goal of the first quarter, before opening the second period with three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead.

Saulnier responded by netting three of the final four goals of the half, including a go-ahead score off a feed from Peterson with 1:05 remaining, which sent AMC into the break holding a 6-5 lead.

Both teams only managed to muster one goal apiece in the third quarter, and entered the final frame with the AMCATS clinging to a one-goal advantage at 7-6.

The Bison struck first in the fourth quarter, as Ahern flipped a loose ball laying in front of the net past the AMC goalie to tie the game at 7-all.

After gaining possession in the Bison's zone, AMC Head Coach Patrick Gaffney called a strategic timeout to set up a play. Out of the time out, the AMCATS worked the ball around the attack zone until freshman Andrew Biscardi (Wantagh, N.Y.) found Saulnier cutting in front of the net and delivered a perfect pass. Saulnier didn't disappoint, gathering the pass and immediately firing a shot into the back of the net for the eventual game-winning goal. Summers later sealed the victory for the AMCATS with an unassisted goal with just 2:39 remaining to ice the historic 9-7 victory.

Both teams return to conference action this Saturday, as the Bison hit the road to face Endicott at 3:00 pm, and the AMCATS host Salve Regina at noon.


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