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First-period collapse too much for hockey team to overcome

By Jacqueline D. Glener

An early lead by Nichols College sent the men's hockey team to a disappointing 8-3 defeat on Wednesday. Although Nichols was ranked eighth in the Eastern College Athletic Association Divisions II-III poll, Head Coach Joe Quinn came into the game with high expectations that MIT could skate away with a win.

The Engineers started out strongly, skating hard both offensively and defensively. When Mike Westphal '90 opened up the scoring on an assist from Mike Foley G, the Engineers appeared to be off to a fiery beginning.

But the MIT defense began to break down, as they played the puck instead of the man and left Nichols players open in front of the goal. Nichols took advantage of the lapse and jumped in to take a big lead of 5-1.

In the second period, the Engineers started to apply more pressure on defense. On offense, they moved more aggressively instead of waiting for the pass. Although the Engineers played better the remainder of the game, they were unable to rally back from the deficit. John Santoro '89 began the second period with a sensational goal in the first 34 seconds. The shot came from behind the net and it bounced off the back of the goalie. Only seconds later Santoro had another chance to score, but the Nichols goalie foiled the attempt.

That was the story for the rest of the period. MIT had a lot of open good shots, but they did not result in goals. Nichols, on the other hand, scored twice more in the period, extending their lead to 7-2.

The third period saw some hard forechecking, and tough man-on-man coverage by MIT. This resulted in faster and more exciting play. Just as in the second period, however, the Engineers had some tough breaks and the Nichols goalie just kept on making the saves. "We had the opportunity to get into the game but we didn't make them," Quinn said.

MIT played Nichols even in the final period, as each team only scored once more. MIT's aggressive backchecking forced Nichols to re-adjust their offense by passing sooner. The Nichols team continued to have open men at the posts and in the slot, but Dave Shea G made some key saves.

Overall, it was a disappointing defeat. The two teams had roughly the same number of shots on goal and the goalies were on par with 21 saves for MIT and 23 for Nichols. The Engineers toughened their play after the first-period lapse, but, as Quinn said, they didn't have the killer instinct.

The hockey team's next game against Gordon College will be their season finale. The game will take place in the Athletic Center at 7 pm.