WATERVILLE, ME -- The Ephs (1-1) scored less than three minutes into the action and never looked back, notching three goals in the first two periods to outlast the Mules (0-2) and pick up their first win of the season.
Williams never trailed in the contest and took a 3-2 lead into the final period, where a solid defensive effort and some timely saves from goaltender Sean Dougherty '15 held off a resilient Colby attack.
Scoring for the Ephs were Tucker Dayton '15, Peter Mistretta '15, and Eric Rubino '13. Mistretta also tallied an assist, while co-captain John Wickman '13 added two assists of his own on the afternoon.
After being held scoreless by Bowdoin in their first game of the season, the Ephs wasted no time in getting on the board on Saturday. Dayton started things off by corralling a rebound attempt and slipping the puck in on the right side of the net to give the Ephs a 1-0 advantage after just three minutes of play. Forward Matt Doyle '15 and Mistretta were credited with the assists.
"[After] getting shut out last night, we needed a little boost early, and I think that clearly helped," noted head coach Bill Kangas after the game. "We did some nice things in the first period; we moved the puck pretty well and I thought we had some jump going."
Colby responded quickly, however. At the 13-minute mark of the first period, forward Cory McGrath won a face-off back to defenseman Scott Harff on the left side of the offensive zone. Harff fired a quick shot through a screen of defenders that eluded Dougherty and found the net to knot the score at 1-1.
After five more minutes of hard-fought play, the Ephs caught a break when back-to-back Colby penalties gave them a 5-on-3 man advantage. The Mules were able to kill off the first penalty, but at the tail end of their second power play, the Ephs cashed in.
The goal was set up by Wickman, who fired a sharp cross-ice pass from the left slot to a wide-open Mistretta. Mistretta buried the one-timer from the right circle to give the Ephs a 2-1 lead that they would take into the first intermission.
Play settled down after a hectic first period, as both defenses came out strong in the second frame to limit scoring chances. About nine minutes into the second period, Colby nearly broke the scoring drought when a Mule forward rang a shot off the post.
The Ephs jumped quickly on the rebound and raced down the ice, where defenseman Greg Johnson '16 put a shot on net from the blue line. Mule goaltender Jordan Nathan stopped Johnson's shot and Wickman's subsequent rebound attempt, but the puck squirted free to Rubino who tapped it home to extend the Williams lead to 3-1.
Once again, though, the Mules fought back. After a Williams penalty put Colby on the power play, defenseman Brendan Cosgrove took a shot in front of the net that deflected off a skate and past Dougherty to narrow the Ephs' lead to 3-2.
Colby put the pressure on Dougherty with a number of shots late in the second frame, but the sophomore goaltender stood tall. Dougherty finished with 34 saves on 36 Colby shots in 60 minutes of play, while Mule netminder Jordan Nathan stopped 23 of the Ephs' 26 shots in 59:33 minutes of play.
The final period created a number of chances for the Mules to tie the score, but the Eph defense held firm. A Williams penalty with 3:48 remaining in the game gave Colby a great power play opportunity, but Dougherty made some key stops to stave off the Mule attack.
The Mules pulled Nathan from net with forty seconds remaining to gain an extra attacker, but an icing call on Colby with twenty seconds left sent the puck back in their defensive end, where it would remain for the game's final seconds.
"We learned a lot about ourselves this weekend," added Kangas. "It's nice to win a close game like that down the stretch... I thought the guys did a good job finding a way to seal the win."
The Ephs will have the week off before returning to Williamstown for their first home contest of the season. They will take on St. Olaf at 7 pm next Friday night in Lansing Chapman rink, then host Gustavus Adolphus the following night at 7 pm.