Men's hockey heads to Middlebury for playoffs

Contact: William Sodoma
Date: February 24, 2011
Athletics Preview Photos

Mike Doherty

WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College men's hockey team was out of the playoff picture in early January and had a 2-8-1 record. Flash forward to late February and suddenly the Mules are the sixth seed in the New England Small College Athletic Conference Tournament and have an 11-10-2 record.

Colby will travel to third-seeded Middlebury College (11-7-6) for a NESCAC quarterfinal game on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be Webcast at

The Mules received a little bad luck with the seeding. Middlebury is the defending tournament champion and has won eight NESCAC titles since 2000. Hamilton College, the top seed, and second-seeded Williams College have a combined one championship game appearance. The Panthers have played in all 11 NESCAC men's hockey championship games.

Middlebury also struggled a bit early in the season, but closed out the season with a 7-2-3 record in its final 12 contests. Meanwhile, Colby went 9-2-1 in its final 12 regular season games. The Panthers, however, took a 4-1 win at Alfond Rink during that stretch of games.

Colby junior forward Mike Doherty leads the offense in total points (28), assists (20), and is fourth in goals (8). Senior captain Billy Crinnion (4 goals, 18 assists) and Wil Hartigan (10 goals, 10 assists) are other threats on the forward line. Junior defensemen Tom McGinn (10 goals, 5 assists) and sophomore defensemen Scott Harff (6 goals, 8 assists) have both played key roles offensively and defensively for the Mules during the past 12 games.

Senior goalie Cody McKinney (2.95 goals against average) earned a big shutout last weekend with a 1-0 win at New England College. He has a 10-7-2 record this season and has 39 career victories at Colby.

Middlebury junior forwards Charlie Strauss (11 goals, 12 assists) and Martin Drolet (10 goals, 12 assists) are the top two scorers. Drolet already has 44 goals and 47 assists for 91 career points in just his third year with the Panthers. First-year forwards J.D. Vermette (8 goals, 7 assists) and Louis Belisle (7 goals, 7 assists) are other threats. Tucker Donahoe is the top scoring defensemen with seven goals and seven assists.

Junior goaltender John Yanchek has an 8-2-5 record this season and is 33-6-7 in his three years with the Panthers.

Quarterfinals - Saturday, Feb. 26 at Higher Seeds
No. 6 Colby at No. 3 Middlebury - 1:00 p.m.
No. 5 Bowdoin at No. 4 Amherst - 1:00 p.m.
No. 8 Wesleyan at No. 1 Hamilton - 3:00 p.m.
No. 7 Trinity at No. 2 Williams - 4:00 p.m.

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