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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: February 23, 2008
WATERVILLE, Maine --- Jim Tortorella's 200th career victory at Colby College will go down as one of his most memorable after the Mules took a 5-1 victory over Saint Michael's College on Saturday and clinched the top seed in the upcoming New England Small College Athletic Conference Men's Hockey Championship.
The Mules will play at Colby's Alfond Rink for as long as they stay alive in the NESCAC playoffs. The first test will be for the top-seeded Mules to meet eighth-seeded Wesleyan University in a league quarterfinal game next Saturday at 4 p.m. With a win in that game, Colby would host the NESCAC Final Four with semifinal games on Saturday, March 8, at 1 and 4 p.m. The NESCAC title game is Sunday, March 9, at 1 p.m.
"The NESCAC in hockey is considered one of the best conferences year in and year out," Tortorella said. "So to be on top of the league at the end of the regular season is quite an accomplishment and a testament to the type of kids we have at this institution."
Tortorella, a 1981 University of Maine graduate, improved his career record to 200-102-24 in his 13th season with the Mules. Tortorella already is the all-time leader in career wins among men's hockey coaches at Colby.
Colby improves to 14-8-1 overall and 13-5-1 in the league. The Mules needed Bowdoin (13-6 league) to lose on Saturday to Norwich University and they got their wish as the Cadets took a 6-4 win.
Colby's seven seniors played their final regular season games at Alfond Rink and made the most of the opportunity. Senior forwards T.J. Kelley (Ridgefield, Conn.), Mike Butler (Saint John, New Brunswick), and Adam Marino (Lexington, Mass.) scored three of the five goals.
Kelley got his 19th goal of the season and his 40th point on a power play at 9:47 of the first period for the lone tally of the period. Michael Belliveau (Bridgewater, Nova Scotia) and Arthur Fritch (South Boston, Mass.) had assists on the goal. Fritch is Colby's all-time leader in defensemen scoring with 113 points (31 goals, 82 assists).
The Mules broke it open in the second period with three goals. Billy Crinnion (Smithtown, N.Y.) started things off at 3:03 of the period and Marino got his goal at 6:54. Butler tallied on the power play to give the Mules a 4-0 lead at the break.
Bobby Sullivan (Darien, Conn.) put Colby up 5-0 just 14 seconds into the third period before Saint Michael's (10-13-1) got a goal from Ryan Mero (Peekskill, N.Y.) at 17:33.
Cody McKinney (Weston, Fla.) made 31 saves for Colby and has allowed just 14 goals in the last 10 games, including a 4-0 shutout of Norwich on Friday night. Purple Knight goalie Brendan Rimmer (Newbury, Mass.) stopped 45 shots.
Colby 5, Saint Michael's 1
Saint Michael's 0#0#1----1
C (PP): T.J. Kelley (Michael Belliveau, Arthur Fritch), 9:47
C: Billy Crinnion (Michael Belliveau), 3:03
C: Adam Marino (Joe Rothwell, Eric Simmons), 6:54
C (PP): Mike Butler (Mike Policinski, Bobby Sullivan), 15:53
C: Bobby Sullivan (T.J. Kelley, Karl Burns), :14
SM: Ryan Mero (Chris Healey, Erik Caron), 17:33
Shots: Saint Michael's 32, Colby 50. Goalies: Brendan Rimmer (SM, 60:00, 5 GA, 45 saves); Cody McKinney (Colby, 60:00, 1 GA, 31 saves).