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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: March 2, 2007
WATERVILLE, Maine --- The final hurdle faces the Colby College men's hockey team. Get over it and the Mules are in the New England Small College Athletic Conference title game.
The Mules have made it to the semifinals of the NESCAC Men's Hockey Championship on four other occasions, but have not moved on to the title game for a chance at a league championship.
Colby (14-8-2), the third seed, gets the chance again Saturday at 4 p.m. in a semifinal game with second-seeded Middlebury College at Bowdoin College. Top-seeded Bowdoin takes on fifth-seeded Amherst College in the other semifinal at 1 p.m. The title game is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday and the winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
With the short trip to Brunswick, Colby will have plenty of fan support. Colby's 400 tickets (each team was given an equal amount) were all sold over Wednesday and Thursday.
If you cannot make the game at Dayton Arena, you can listen to the broadcast on Colby radio station WMHB at http://www.wmhb.org/ or you can watch the game at http://www.pennatlantic.com/main.php?x=x&module=team-detail&teamId=839
Senior captain Greg Osborne was named the NESCAC Player of the Year on Thursday and leads the league in scoring (21 goals, 19 assists, 40 points), goals and power play goals (11). Junior Arthur Fritch was on the NESCAC first team along with Osborne and junior forward Josh Reber made the second team. Fritch leads all NCAA Division III defensemen in scoring with 10 goals and 25 assists for 35 points. Reber is third on Colby in scoring with nine goals and 24 assists for 33 points.
T.J. Kelley (15 goals, 16 assists), Joe Rothwell (8 goals, 18 assists), Patrick Rutherford (9 goals, 13 assists) and Ryan Chrenek (7 goals, 11 assists) are other key scorers for Colby.
Senior goalie Ben Grandjean was the key when Colby took a 4-3 overtime win over Middlebury at Alfond Rink earlier in the year. He made a number of spectacular saves in the game. Grandjean is third in the league in save percentage (.915) and fifth in goals against average (2.53).
Colby's power play ranks third nationally with a 26.2 percent efficiency, but Middlebury is tough on the penalty kill with an 86.4 percent success rate. Osborne, Kelley, Rothwell and Fritch are all among the top 10 in the conference in power play goals.
Middlebury, the three-time defending NCAA champs, heads into the game at 15-7-3. The Panthers are 4-0-1 in their last five games. Junior forward Mickey Gilchrist (15 goals, 14 assists) is a dangerous scorer and the Panthers are solid defensively with Tom Maldonado (1 goal, 23 assists) and John Sales (8 goals, 12 assists).