Men's hockey wins playoffs
By Jason Hunter
On Sunday, Feb. 17, the men's hockey team completed its season by defeating Franklin Pierce College 6-1 in the finals of the Northeast Collegiate Club Hockey Association playoffs in Providence, RI.
In the playoffs, the team was led by the goaltending of Miles Arnone '91, the defensive play of Henry Dotterer '91, Mike Quinlan '92 and Gene McKenna '92, and the scoring of Mike Mini '93 and Dwight Caldwell G. The team qualified for the playoffs by compiling a 10-1 record in conference play and a 15-6 record overall.
Big regular season wins came against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (3-2), Franklin Pierce (8-4), and Nichols College (11-4). The team scoring leader was Rob Silva '93 with 20 goals and 35 assists, followed by co-captain Dotterer (19 goals, 24 assists), Caldwell (17 goals, 21 assists), and Alain Curadeau G (18 goals, 15 assists).
Other key contributions were made by co-captain and goaltender Arnone, who posted a 3.2 goals against average for the season; defensemen Quinlan and McKenna; and forwards Jason Kreiser '92, Bill MacDonald G, Dan Lee G and Jason Biederman '94.
In the first round of the NECHA playoffs, MIT defeated the Johnson and Wales College squad by a 7-2 margin. The chippy Johnson and Wales players, encouraged by several hundred fans who had made the short trip from the J & W campus, were more apt to drop their gloves and raise their sticks than play hockey. As a result, two of their players were ejected for fighting.
With 20 seconds left in the game, and MIT leading 7-2, the puck was stopped in the corner of the Engineer zone by defenseman McKenna. Two J & W forwards then descended upon him.
The two players started throwing punches at McKenna, who was pinned against the boards. McKenna, in an attempt to defend himself, brought his hands up around his face and lost a glove. The referees finally stepped in and issued McKenna a game misconduct for fighting.
MIT thus entered the final game of the playoffs missing two key players, McKenna and Lee. Lee, the hardworking right wing, had broken his ankle in a victory against Gordon College two weeks before. McKenna, part of the foursome that constitutes perhaps the best defensive corps in MIT's league, was forced to sit out the game serving the misconduct.
MIT's opponent in the final game, Franklin Pierce, was the only team to have beaten the Engineers in NECHA Conference play, winning 4-3 in the Engineer's season opener at Franklin Pierce.
In the return matchup at MIT on Jan. 31, MIT won handily by an 8-4 margin with scoring well distributed among the three forward lines. Franklin Pierce had advanced to the finals by defeating Springfield College, the NECHA West Conference champion, 5-3.
The final game was a tight one, with the only first-period goal scored by Dotterer on a beautiful play that began with a rush from the blue line to behind the net, and completed with a wrap-around goal past the outstretched stick of Franklin Pierce goalie Pat Kenny.
Franklin Pierce gave MIT its only true scare of the first period when E. J. Storm broke in alone on the MIT net. Storm worked his breakaway down the left side and then cut toward the center of the net, flipping the puck towards the five hole. Arnone butterflied to his knees to make the save, maintaining MIT's 1-0 margin as the teams headed into the locker room.
In the second period, MIT opened up the game with a pair of goals by forward Mini, part of the illustrious "blues brothers" line of Mini, Nick Pierce '94 and Silva.
MIT had the chance to break the game open further as Mini was sent in alone on a breakaway, but he failed to convert the chance as Franklin Pierce goalie Kenny made a wonderful glove save while sprawled out in front of the net.
Third-period scoring began with a shot from MIT's Kreiser who, after a feed from Caldwell, blasted the puck from the right circle over goalie Kenny's shoulder, ringing it off the near post.
Franklin Pierce's only score on 17 shots came at 9:44 of the third period. Controlling the offensive zone, the puck was drawn back to Franklin Pierce defenseman Steve Devine at the right point as forward Brian Schiffer set up a screen just outside the MIT crease.
The MIT goalie moved out of the net to meet the oncoming play and Schiffer deflected Devine's hard and low slap shot behind Arnone and into the net.
MIT responded with two quick goals, by Pierce and Mini (completing his hat trick), to round out the scoring. Both goals were assisted by Silva.
Fine defensive play by MIT's defensive regulars -- plus the work of forward Nick Ullman G, who played a regular defensive shift in the finals as a replacement for McKenna -- was the key to the near shutout by MIT.
For the season, head coach Joe Quinn was especially pleased with the outstanding play of defenseman Dotterer and the consistent improvement of Biederman and Krieser.
Quinn was also excited about Caldwell's all-around performance and the goal production of Silva, who has two more seasons with the squad. And Curadeau delighted fans with a number of spectacular goals following rink-length rushes.
In essence, MIT hockey's performance was a team effort in which each player made the necessary sacrifices to ensure team success. And goaltender Arnone was the backbone of the team. He consistently made magnificent saves during the season backed up by goalies Erik Norton '93 and Anand Mehta G.
Jack Olson '91 and Ullman should also be noted as two players who joined the team during the second half of the season and made significant contributions, especially during the playoffs.
Next year look for another tough Engineer squad. With only two or three players leaving the club this year, the Engineers promise to be in the running for back-to-back championships.