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Hamilton College Men’s Hockey is on the rise

Credit: Scott Kinville

After defeating #2 Geneseo on Saturday night, the Hamilton College Continentals Men’s Hockey Team proved this season’s success is no fluke.

The Hamilton College Continentals Men’s Hockey Team (11-4-1 overall, 6-3-1 NESCAC) is for real.

The Continentals entered this season looking to build on a respectable 13-10-2 record they put together in 2022-23. This offseason, head coach Rob Haberbusch, and his staff brought in the second-best recruiting class in Division III according to (you can read about it here: Hamilton College Mens Hockey’s Solid Recruit Class). With a returning core of veterans along with an exciting class of newcomers, excitement was building on College Hill.

This season, the Continentals burst out of the gates with a 4-0 start. The fourth victory was an impressive victory over the fourteenth-ranked Trine Thunder to capture the North Country Tournament crown. It served as a notice that this team could very well be one to watch for.

In a rare set of circumstances, the Continentals would meet the Thunder two more times before the end of 2023 (rare because non-conference opponents usually do not play each other three times in one season). The rematches were on December 29 and 30 in Clinton, NY. At this point, Hamilton’s only loss was to the now tenth-ranked Trinity Bantams.

Hamilton College goaltender Charlie Archer. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

The Thunder got a measure of payback in game one with a 4-3 overtime victory. The next day, the visitors re-lived their nightmare from the North Country Tournament. Max Bulawka, James Philpott, and Luke Tchor had two points each in the Continental’s 4-0 victory, marking their second 4-0 win over Trine in six weeks.

Tchor, Bulwaka, and Philpott have been driving the Hamilton offense all season. First-year sensation Tchor leads the team in goals (eleven), assists (eleven), shots (ninety-five), and +/- (+13). Bulwaka is second on the team in goals (seven) and points (seventeen). Like he was last season, Philpott is once again the team’s leading scorer from the blue line. He has three goals with ten assists and is third on the team in points with thirteen.

After the second Trine victory, Hamilton would have some adversity to deal with. Goaltender Charlie Archer has been out of action since the second win against Trine on December 30. The junior has been outstanding, posting a 0.971 save percentage, 0.86 GAA, and three shutouts to go with his 6-1-0 record. He is first in Division III in save percentage, second in GAA, and tied for second in shutouts.

Hamilton College Continentals Men’s Hockey featured on the Central New York Hockey Report Podcast

Jack Grant and Josh Nadler have handled the netminding duties in Archer’s absence. Grant had been serving as Archer’s primary goaltending partner and is having a fine season in his own right. The senior has a record of 4-2-0 with a 2.70 GAA, 0.907 save percentage, and one shutout.

Going into this past weekend’s games, the Continentals had been on a 1-2-1 skid. That would end dramatically.

Hamilton kicked off their weekend with a wild 7-6 victory in Amherst on Friday night, with four Continentals registering three points each. The Continentals returned home on Saturday night for their toughest test of the season to this point, hosting the second-ranked Geneseo Ice Knights. Alex Danis scored again (he had a hat trick against Amherst), and Grant made forty-one saves in Hamilton’s 4-3 upset win.

The USCHO voters have taken notice of what’s happening in Hamilton, as they were eight votes away from cracking the top fifteen in the January 22 Division III Men’s poll. The Continentals will play another ranked team this coming weekend when tenth-ranked Trinity visits Sage Rink on Friday night. Wins against Trinity and Saturday’s opponent the Wesleyan Cardinals could finally vault the Continentals into the top fifteen.

The best is yet to come for the Hamilton College Continentals Men’s Hockey Team.

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