Wesleyan Defense Holds Down No. 3 Amherst for Upset

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - Wesleyan (5-1, 4-1 NESCAC) scored four straight goals during the second quarter, two of them by senior John Froats, to break a 1-1 tie with Amherst (7-1, 3-1), ranked third, and go on for a 6-3 NESCAC win here today. The victory, coupled with an opening-day 9-4 conquering of Williams, gave Wesleyan an outright Little Three title in 2012.

Wesleyan had drawn first blood with the only goal of the first period as senior Teddy Citrin began his hat trick by working around from behind the net on the left and finding room in front to put the Cardinals ahead at 5:48 of the stanza.

Amherst tied the game at 10:56 of the second quarter on a nice backhand whisk shot from senior Cole Cherney after an interior feed by senior Alex Fox. It was Cherney's 20 goal of the year. Cherney had broken a 2-2 tie late in the game with Wesleyan in last year's meeting at Amherst as the Lord Jeffs ended a 13-game losing streak to Wesleyan with a 4-2 victory.

But the Cardinals rattled off four in a row in a span of 8:25 to take a commanding 5-1 lead into halftime this time out. Froats got the run started with a low shot inside the left post past Amherst senior keeper Sam Jakimo, who had made 18 saves a year ago to preserve the win. Senior Max Landow set up Froats' goal at 8:56 with the first of his two assists on the day.

Citrin then netted his second goal on a fast break after catching a pass from long-pole middie junior Brendan Hanley to go in one-on-one with Jakimo and beat him high, making it 3-1 at 7:32. It was 4-1 after Froats connected with Landow again at 4:11 after catching a pass in traffic and scoring after a quick spin. Landow put the finishing touches on the run with his third point of the game, making good with his shot from the right side off a feed by sophomore Aidan Daniell.

Amherst got the only marker of the third period as top scorer sophomore Devin Acton bounced in a shot from long range for his 23rd goal of the year. The score stayed 5-2 for more than 22 minutes until the Lord Jeffs narrowed the margin to two at 4:11 of the final period on a tally by sophomore Aaron Mathias with a high shot. It was his 14th goal of the year.

Amherst drew three penalties in the final three minutes and Wesleyan cashed in on a two-man-up situation at 2:14 when Citrin started with the ball low on the left and raced past his defender to reach the front of the net before Jakimo could recover as he was out of the net guarding against a pass. It was the team-leading 12th goal of the season for Citrin, and accounted for the final 6-3 score.

As they did a year ago, the Cardinals mounted a substantial margin in total shots, holding the Lord Jeffs to 14 attempts while taking 32 of their own today. Last year, Wesleyan generated a 45-25 edge in shots. Wesleyan senior goalie Grant Covington made five saves as Amherst put just eight shots on net over the 60 minutes, a credit to the Cardinals' defense.

Wesleyan was one of the top teams nationally in Division III for goal-against average, rankied seventh with a 4.80 figure to begin the week. Jakimo ended the game with seven saves as Wesleyan missed the net more often than not in the contest.

Ahead for Wesleyan is a meeting with another nationally ranked foe, Endicott, ranked 16th, on Sat., March 31. Amherst is back in action Saturday as well, hosting Hamilton in a NESCAC game.


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