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Hamilton College Men’s Hockey seeks NESCAC Tournament crown

Credit: Scott Kinville

The fourth-seed Hamilton College Continentals Men’s Hockey Team (16-7-1 overall, 11-6-1 NESCAC) will host the fifth-seed Amherst Mammoths (14-9-1 overall, 9-8-1 NESCAC) on Saturday afternoon in the Quarterfinals of the NESCAC Tournament. The teams met twice in the regular season, with Hamilton winning both games.

After posting a respectable 13-10-2 overall and 11-5-2 NESCAC mark in 2022-23, the Continentals had some question marks entering this season. With only five seniors and 12 first-year players, the Continentals are a very young team. The dozen new players were part of a highly touted recruit class brought in by head coach Rob Haberbusch and his assistants, but some growing pains were expected.

Not only did this team overcome the growing pains, but their 16 wins have exceeded last season’s total and kept Hamilton hovering just outside of the USCHO top 15 for most of the second half. The young Continentals also exceeded their coach’s expectations.

“It’s been a fun year,” the Hamilton bench boss said. “I can’t say we really expected this (success) this year because we’re very young.” He also noted, “We’ve shown our ceiling is pretty high.”

The conference tournament matchups for CNY Division III teams

The newcomers have stepped up in a big way for the Continentals this season, with forward Luke Tchor leading the charge. The first-year sensation has been as good as advertised. He leads Hamilton in most offensive categories. Max Bulawka (sophomore), Devon de Vries (freshman), James Philpott (junior), and Jackson Krock (sophomore) round out the top five scorers.

Recorded in November right after the North Country Tournament win, episode 11 features Rob Haberbusch and James Philpott from the Hamilton College Continentals Men’s Hockey Team.

Usually known to be a primarily defensive team, the youngsters have added a new dimension to the Hamilton game plan. “It’s a different team,” Haberbusch observed. “We have more offensive weapons.”

Getting a young team to gel the way the Continentals have this season takes great leadership qualities. Haberbusch credits his team’s captains (James Philpott, William Neault, Max Wutzke, and Logan Greene) for the leadership they have provided to the new faces on the team.

“Our captains have done a really good job,” he noted. “Our young players have done what they have done because of what the captains have done.”

Junior defenseman James Philpott. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

On the other end of the rink, the Continentals have also enjoyed solid goaltending this season. Charlie Archer has been outstanding, posting a 7-1-0 record, but has missed time due to injury. Senior Jack Grant has stepped in and calmed the waters in the Hamilton crease. He has been the starter for the last quarter of the season and enters Saturday’s game having won three consecutive starts.

Although they have defeated Amherst twice already this season, the Continentals know they will have a tough opponent on Saturday nonetheless.

“They’re always a strong team,” coach Haberbusch said about the Mammoths. “They’re always a hard-working physical team, and we’re focusing a lot on their special teams and forecheck.”

They are also a different team on the road. They are 5-6-0 at home this season, but 9-3-1 away from Orr Rink.

The Mammoths are led on offense by Ryan Tucker and Josh Burke. Tucker, a senior forward, leads the team in goals (15) and points (27). Sophomore forward Burke has the most assists (13) on the Mammoths and is second in points (22).

The Amherst goaltending tandem consists of Leslie Connor and Alex Wisco. Connor has the better record of the two at 7-3-1, while Wisco was the goaltender of record in both games against Hamilton this season.

Saturday’s game at Russell Sage Rink is scheduled to start at 1:00 pm. The winner advances to the Semifinals next Saturday against an opponent to be determined. For more information about the Hamilton College Continentals, visit https://athletics.hamilton.edu.

Team Statistics

Hamilton College Continentals

  • Goals Per Game: 3.3
  • Goals Against Per Game: 2.4
  • Shots Per Game: 35.0
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 31.8
  • Power Play: 17.5%
  • Penalty Kill: 86.2%

Individual Leaders

  • Goals: Luke Tchor (13)
  • Assists: Luke Tchor (19)
  • Points: Luke Tchor (32)
  • Shots: Luke Tchor (134)
  • PPG: Grisha Gotovets + Jackson Krock (3 each)
  • SHG: Ben Zimmerman (2)
  • GWG: Alex Danis + Devon de Vries (3 each)
  • +/-: Luke Tchor (+18)
  • PIM: Matt Gellerman (19)

Goaltenders

Charlie Archer: 7-1-0, 0.88 GAA, 0.971 save percentage, 3 shutouts.

Jack Grant: 8-5-0, 2.81 GAA, 0.913 save percentage, 1 shutout.

Josh Nadler: 1-1-1, 4.21 GAA, 0.877 save percentage, no shutouts.

Amherst Mammoths

  • Goals Per Game: 3.5
  • Goals Against Per Game: 2.9
  • Shots Per Game: 34.9
  • Shots Allowed Per Game: 29.3
  • Power Play: 22.7%
  • Penalty Kill: 82.9%

Individual Leaders

  • Goals: Ryan Tucker (15)
  • Assists: Josh Burke (13)
  • Points: Ryan Tucker (27)
  • Shots: Ben Kuzma (89)
  • PPG: Ryan Tucker (4)
  • SHG: Bobby Luca + Max Thiessen (1 each)
  • GWG: Ryan Tucker (3)
  • +/-: Josh Burke + Ben Ritter (+10 each)
  • PIM: Connor McGinnis (27)

Goaltenders

Connor Leslie: 7-3-1, 2.66 GAA, 0.907 save percentage, no shutouts.

Alex Wisco: 5-6-0, 2.87 GAA, 0.904 save percentage, no shutouts.

Andrew Palena: 0-0-0, 1.40 GAA, 0.949 save percentage, no shutouts.

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