BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Matt Brazel (Hingham, Mass.) scored off a rebound at 10:26 of the second overtime to lift third-seeded Babson College to a 3-2 victory over sixth-seeded Skidmore College in a New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament quarterfinal thriller on Saturday night at the Babson Skating Center.
Babson, which is unbeaten in its last six games, improves to 15-8-3 overall and advances to the conference semifinals for the sixth year in a row going back to 2013. Skidmore, which had gone 4-1-2 in its final seven regular season games, closes the year at 6-18-2.
Senior Zach Phelps (Manorville, Pa.) and junior Tommy Munichiello (Weymouth, Mass.) both scored for the Beavers. Seniors Charlie Ackerman (Bradenton, Fla.), Joe DePietto (Westbury, N.Y.) and Matt McMorrow (Pearl River, N.Y.), and first-year Brendan Casey (Glastonbury, Conn.) all had one assist apiece in the win. Junior goaltender Matt Pompa (Palm City, Fla.) finished with 43 saves on the night.
Junior Corey Morgan (Ridgewood, N.J.) and sophomore Tim Allen (Smithfield, R.I.) both had a goal and assist, while first-year Matt Muzyka (Cheshire, Conn.) chipped in with an assist for the Thoroughbreds. Sophomore goaltender Brandon Kasel (Ithaca, N.Y.) turned away 44 shots in defeat.
Following a scoreless stretch of over 42 minutes, Brazel ended Babson's longest game since 1986 with his first career postseason game winner. Casey's initial slapshot off a centering feed from Ackerman was knocked down by Kasel, but Brazel was able to poke home the rebound at the top of the crease to keep the Beavers' season alive.
The Green and White outshot Skidmore 20-8 in the opening period and took advantage of a 23-second power play on Munichiello's goal at the 18:25 mark. DePietto's blast from the left point was blocked by a defender in between the circles, but Munichiello buried the rebound for his fourth tally of the season.
Pompa kept the Beavers in front with a pair of tremendous saves on junior Adam Moodie (Wolf Island, Ontario) and sophomore John Litscher (Haymarket, Va.) in the opening 2:08 of the second period. The Thoroughbreds persistence paid off when Allen came flying into the zone and beat Pompa from the slot to pull even at 7:29 of the middle frame. Skidmore outshot the hosts 18-6 in the second and took its first lead of the night on Morgan's goal off a centering pass from Allen just 35 seconds shy of the intermission.
Kasel made a tremendous glove save on a chance by Munichiello to keep the Thoroughbreds in front just over seven minutes into the third. Babson pulled even less than 90 seconds later though, as Phelps gained control of a loose puck at the blue line and went top-shelf with a wrist shot to make it 2-2 at 8:30 of the third.
Senior Rob Devaney (Reading, Mass. nearly scored in the closing seconds of the third period and the Green and White outshot Skidmore 11-6 in the first extra session. Munichiello missed just wide on a breakout at the 2:42 mark and Kasel made back-to-back saves on Brazel at 7:29 to keep the game deadlocked.
The Beavers went 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Thoroughbreds finished 0-for-2 with five shots in just over two minutes of time on the man advantage.
Babson will travel to second-seeded and nationally-ranked Hobart for an NEHC Tournament semifinal next Saturday at 7 p.m.
• With their 14th consecutive win in the series, the Beavers are now 31-6-1 all-time against Skidmore and 9-0 in the postseason against the Thoroughbreds.
• Babson improves to 2-0-3 this season in overtime, and needed a second extra session for the first time since defeating Merrimack, 3-2, in a 1986 ECAC East semifinal.
• Brazel, who now has at least one point in three consecutive games, has two goals and seven assists for nine points in six career postseason contests.
• Saturday's victory was the first this season for the Beavers when trailing after two periods.`