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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: March 1, 2008
WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College men's hockey team will host the New England Small College Athletic Conference Final Four for the first time ever after taking a 4-1 victory over Wesleyan University in a conference quarterfinal game on Saturday at Alfond Rink.
The top-seeded Mules (15-8-1) will entertain sixth-seeded Trinity College in a 1 p.m. semifinal game next Saturday. Trinity took a 5-2 win against Bowdoin on Saturday. Middlebury, the second seed, will take on fourth-seeded Amherst College in the other semifinal at 4 p.m. at Colby.
Josh Reber (Edina, Minn.), who missed the past five games with an injury, scored 3:32 into the game and added an assist to lead Colby's offense. Meanwhile, first-year goalie Cody McKinney (Weston, Fla.) finished with 25 saves and has given up just 15 goals in the last 11 games. McKinney improved to 15-6-1 and helped the Mules go to 10-3 in home games this year (all three losses by one goal).
Reber got his 10th goal of the season off assists from Karl Burns (Mequon, Wis.) and Joe Rothwell (Unionville, Ontario).
The Mules made it 2-0 at 8:21 of the first period when Arthur Fritch (South Boston, Mass.) tallied for the ninth time this season off passes from Mike Butler (Saint John, New Brunswick) and T.J. Kelley (Ridgefield, Conn.).
Jared Crittenden (Fairport, N.Y.) got his third goal of the season just 1:39 into the second period from Reber and Billy Crinnion (Smithtown, N.Y.). The Mules then scored just 19 seconds later when Michael Belliveau (Bridgewater, Nova Scotia) scored from Kelley and Fritch. Kelley's two assists give him 70 for his career and he has 56 goals for 126 points. Meanwhile, Reber (34 goals, 98 assists, 132 points) moved to within two assists of becoming just the third Colby player to reach 100 assists. Fritch, Colby's all-time leader in defensemen scoring and assists, has 32 goals and 83 assists for 115 points.
Wesleyan (8-13-3) scored off the power play at 10:08 of the second period on a goal by Scott Burns and assists from Sam Robinson (Winchester, Mass.) and David Layne (Flourtown, Pa.).
Mike Palladino (Litchfield, Conn.) made 28 saves for the eighth-seeded Cardinals.
Colby 4, Wesleyan 1
C: Josh Reber (Karl Burns, Joe Rothwell), 3:32
C: Arthur Fritch (Mike Butler, T.J. Kelley), 8:21
C: Jared Crittenden (Billy Crinnion, Josh Reber), 1:39
C: Michael Belliveau (Arthur Fritch, T.J. Kelley), 1:58
W (PP): Scott Burns (Sam Robinson, David Layne), 10:08
Shots: Wesleyan 26, Colby 32. Goalies: Mike Palladino (Wesleyan, 60:00, 4 GA, 28 saves); Cody McKinney (Colby, 60:00, 1 GA, 25 saves).
Men's NESCAC Hockey Pairings
Saturday, March 1, at higher seeds
Colby 4, Wesleyan 1
Middlebury 6, Williams 0
Trinity 5, Bowdoin 2
Amherst 3, Connecticut College, 2, OT
Saturday, March 8, at Colby College
No. 6 Trinity at No. 1 Colby --- 1:00 p.m.
No. 4 Amherst vs. No. 2 Middlebury --- 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 9, at Colby College
Semifinal winners, 1:00 p.m.