Trinity Men's Ice Hockey Hosts First NCAA Game, Bantams Face Nichols Saturday Night

The No. 5-ranked Bantams are hosting an NCAA ice hockey game for the first time

​Hartford, Conn., March 12, 2015 - The Trinity College men's ice hockey team, coached by Matt Greason (4th Season), was one of four teams to receive an at-large bid into the 11-team NCAA Division III Championship Tournament and will host the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Champion Nichols College Bison in a first round game on Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m.  The No. 5-ranked Bantams, hosting an NCAA ice hockey game for the first time, have a record of 21-3-1 overall record and finished at the top of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) standings with a 16-1-1 conference mark.  Saturday night’s winner will advance to quarterfinals next weekend against No. 4-ranked Plattsburgh State.  Tickets for the weekend's games are $6 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, and $3 for children ages 12 and under.  Trinity students will be admitted at no charge courtesy of the College's athletic department.   

Trinity had won 17 of 18 games after November before suffering a 2-1 loss against Tufts in the NESCAC Quarterfinals on February 28, and have been idle ever since. The Bantams posted a 6-1-1 mark in the fall semester, and a 14-2 record since January 1, with its three losses coming at home against No. 13-ranked Mass.-Boston (5-3), at No. 7-ranked Amherst (2-1 in OT), and against the Jumbos and its tie was 1-1 against Hamilton on the November 22.  The Bantams are one of two NESCAC schools competing for the national title as Amherst won the league crown to earn an automatic bid.  Trinity is making its fourth overall NCAA appearance, having reached the tournament in 2003, 2005 and 2008, advancing to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2005. The Bantams are 3-1 against the tournament field with a 4-3 win at Hobart, a 5-4 victory at Plymouth State, a 7-2 victory against Amherst, and its January 30 setback at the Lord Jeffs.

Trinity dominated the NESCAC post-season awards, as Bantam sophomore forward Ryan Cole (Anchorage, Alaska) was named as the NESCAC Player of the Year and joined senior defenseman Michael Flynn (Cheshire, Conn.), junior forward Michael Hawkrigg (Toronto, Ontario), and junior goaltender Nathaniel Heilbron (West Vancouver, British Columbia) on the all-conference first team.  In addition, Flynn, Cole, and senior Jackson Brewer (Newton, Mass.) were each selected as semifinalists for the Concannon Award as the top American-born Division II/III men’s ice hockey player in New England.  Brewer was both the NESCAC Player of the Year and the Concannon Award recipient in 2013-14.

The Bantams rank seventh in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 4.24 goals per game, fifth in country in scoring defense, allowing 1.80 goals per contest, and fourth in scoring margin at +2.44.  Trinity’s offense is both balanced and high-powered with 11 players in double digits in scoring and several appearing among the league leaders in the league and the nation, and the Bantams are also second in the NESCAC on the power play with goals 26.9 percent of the time.  Cole leads the league in scoring with 35 points, while Hawkrigg is second with 34 points, Brewer is fifth with 31 points, and sophomore forward Sean Orlando (Ivyland, Pa.) ranks ninth with 25 points. Hawkrigg, Cole, and Orlando rank third in the conference with 14 goals each, followed by first-year forward Tyler Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.) who is tied for ninth with 11 tallies.  Brewer is the conference's top assist man with 24 helpers, while Cole is second with 21, Hawkrigg is third with 20, and Flynn is tied for eighth with 15.  Orlando tops the NESCAC in power-play goals with 10, while Whitney is tied for the most game-winners with five, and Flynn is the second-most prolific blue liner with 17 points (two goals).   Heilbron ranks second in the league in both save percentage at .931 (tied) and GAA at 1.94 to go with 512 saves, while Flynn anchors an experienced blue line, including fellow seniors Paul Burns (New Hope, Pa.), Greg Rooney (Shrewsbury, Mass.), and Andrew Tallett (Manchester, Mass.) that has held Trinity opponents to 215 less shots than the Bantams this winter.

Nichols, coached by Kevin Swallow (3rd Season), seeks its first win in the NCAA Tournament in its third appearance, having lost at Geneseo State, 3-2, last winter. They are led offensively by junior Frank Butler (East Haven, Conn.) with 20 and classmate Tyler Beasley (Indianapolis, Ind.), who leads in both assists (28) and points (35).  The Bison blue line is anchored by a senior Kyle Shapiro (Ambler, Pa.) who was named ECAC Northeast Player of the Year after leading the nation through the regular season in defense scoring (24 points in 25 games).  Junior Alex Larson (Madison, Ala.) was the ECAC Northeast Goaltender of the Year and ranks among the nation’s top seven in all statistical categories between the Bison pipes. Trinity holds a 16-7 advantage in the all-time series with Nichols and the No. 14-ranked Bison won the last meeting, 5-3, in December of 2012.  Nichols is 1-1 against NCAA teams with a 6-4 win against Plymouth State and a 4-3 loss at Hobart.  The Bantams and the Bison have one common opponents besides Hobart, as Trinity won at Western New England, 7-2, and Nichols swept WNE in a home-and-home series, 5-2, and, 8-3.

Additional information is available on athletics.trincoll.edu.