Wesleyan Knocks off 16th-Ranked Endicott

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (March 31) - Renewing their rivalry after a four-year hiatus, Wesleyan (6-1) defeated Endicott (5-4) for the eighth time in nine all-time meetings with an 11-4 victory here this afternoon.

It was the third straight triumph for the Cardinals against a nationally ranked opponent as the Gulls entered the game 16th in Division III in this week's USILA poll. Earlier in the week, Wesleyan downed #3 Amherst, 6-3, after defeating #17 Middlebury a week ago, 7-3.

Sophomore Aidan Daniell got Wesleyan off to a solid start by netting the opening three Cardinal goals to up his season total to nine. He also added a fourth-quarter assist for a four-point game. Also with a four-point afternoon for Wesleyan was senior DJ Bernatavitz with a goal and three assists.

In the Wesleyan net, senior keeper Grant Covington made a career-high 19 saves while allowing just three goals during his 55:46 between the pipes. He is ranked in the top five nationally for both save percentage (now 75.8) and goals-against average (now 4.06).

Covington posted 17 saves in the win over Middlebury March 24 for his previous high game for saves. Wesleyan is one of the top teams in Division III for scoring defense, yielding just 31 goals in seven games for a 4.43 goals-against average. Only once in seven starts has an opponent scored more than five goals against Wesleyan during regulation play.

Endicott had two players with a two-point day as freshman Harrison Cotter had a goal and an assist while top scorer senior Brendan Eppley had a pair of assists, bringing his season total to 11-10-21.

After Daniell spotted the Cardinals a 3-1 edge at the 8:18 mark of the second quarter with three long-range bouncers, freshman Matt Prezioso added another bouncer from the outside to give the Cardinals a 4-1 margin at halftime. Wesleyan then outscored Endicott, 4-1, in the third period to push the advantage to 8-2 after 45 minutes of play.

Benatavitz was the key on offense for the Cardinals during the frame with a goal and two helpers while senior John Froats had a goal and an assist on his way to a three-point game as he also assisted on Daniell's second marker early in the second quarter.

After Gull senior Connor Prescott tallied his eighth goal of the year after catching a smart centering pass by Eppley at 12:35 of the fourth quarter to cut the difference to 8-3, Wesleyan ran the margin to 11-3 on goals by junior Graham Macnab, his second of the game for a three-point performance, and freshmen Nate Ryan and David Murphy in a span of just 2:55. Endicott got the final marker with 1:10 left, netting a man-up goal by grad student Jon Thanas, his ninth of the campaign.

In the Endicott net, junior Tom Burke made nine saves.

Ahead for Wesleyan is another non-conference home game vs. SUNY Farmingdale Wed., April 4. Endicott hosts Southern Maine Thurs., April 5 in its next start.


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