On March 8, the men’s hockey team celebrated its first-ever NESCAC Championship with a 7-2 victory over Trinity College. Although the win secured the league’s automatic bid into the 2020 NCAA Tournament, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors decided to cancel all remaining winter championships as well as the spring sports season across all divisions (I, II, and III). Wesleyan had several winter sports scheduled to compete in their respective NCAA Championships, including men’s hockey, which are affected by this news.
The Cardinals scored seven goals in just over 30 minutes of action, erasing an early deficit to thunder past No. 8 Trinity at Lansing Chapman Rink on the campus of Williams College.
The victory was a resounding one as the fifth-seeded Cardinals scored four unanswered goals in a span of just 10:25 between the second and third periods to take a commanding 4–1 lead that proved enough in the end. Six different goal scorers lit the lamp for Wesleyan while Walker Harris ’20 finished with four points (one goal, three assists) to tie the NESCAC Championship game record for the highest point total by a single skater. One night removed from making 40 saves in the Cardinals’ semifinal win over the Ephs, Tim Sestak ’20 was tremendous once again, posting 38 saves on 40 shots-on-goal from Trinity as he continues to deliver in the postseason for Wesleyan throughout his career.
Wesleyan’s seven goals set a new NESCAC record for the most goals scored in a league title game, breaking the previous record of six set by Middlebury back in 2004.
The five-goal margin of victory is the largest-ever in a NESCAC title game; the last time Wesleyan scored seven goals against a NESCAC foe came all the way back on Feb. 8, 2014, in a 7–3 win over Williams.
Wesleyan becomes the fifth team in NESCAC history to win the conference title being seeded fifth or lower and the sixth NESCAC school to win a men’s hockey league title, joining Middlebury (eight NESCAC championships), Trinity (five), Amherst (three), Bowdoin (two), and Colby (one).
Harris’s four-point night ties the single-game record set by Trinity’s Michael Hawkrigg in the 2016 title game for the most points scored by a single player in a NESCAC Championship.
Watch a highlights video of the game online here. View photos of the game below and on this Wesleyan Athletics page: (Photos by Steve McLaughlin. Story by Maxx McNall.)