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In a battle for supremacy in the NorthEast Collegiate Hockey Association Conference A East Division, MIT’s freshmen contingent proved to be the difference, as the men’s ice hockey team slipped past Endicott College 2-1 on Saturday night. Defenseman Nicholas D. Sisler ’11 assisted on the game-tying goal before fellow freshman Cory F. Phinney ’11 netted the winner, while rookie goaltender Stephen L. Yablonski ’11 stopped 26 shots to earn the victory.

The Gulls took the lead early when Chris Garofalo scored his 13th goal of the season. Their lead did not last long however, as the Engineers scored two quick-fire goals to take the lead midway through the opening period. Nicholas R. LaBounty ’09 scored the equalizer, notching his team-leading 19th goal of the season with Sisler providing the lone assist. Michael C. Kozlowski ’08 and Dustin P. Kendrick ’10 then assisted Phinney on the game-winning goal just minutes later.

The rest of the contest belonged to the goaltenders, with Yablonski and Endicott’s Josh Provost turning away all shots to keep the score at 2-1. Provost made 37 saves to keep the Gulls within striking distance, but Yablonski shut the door to lower his season goals against average to 1.43.

The Engineers’ record improved to 12-3-0 overall and 8-2-0 in the division with the win, solidifying its place atop the standings. Endicott concluded its regular season schedule with records of 10-10-1 and 5-4-0.

MIT finishes up conference play this Saturday at Westfield State College, followed by a tough match-up at home against Division I opponent Boston College. The game will provide good preparation for the Engineers going into the NECHA playoffs, which begin the last week of February.

Why this is Game of the Week:

The Engineers pulled through in a tough divisional match-up, with key contributions coming from young players. The win puts the team in great position heading into the playoffs.