NEC Hosts Men's Hockey Tournament
This past weekend marked the first time that New England College has hosted a major conference tournament. On Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, the semi-final and final rounds of the ECAC East Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament were played in the College’s Lee Clement Arena in Henniker, New Hampshire.
It was the Beavers against the Thoroughbreds and the Beacons against the Pilgrims on Friday as Babson College, Skidmore, the University of Massachusetts/Boston, and New England College battled it out for the final two slots to compete in the championship round. Friday’s semi-finals found UMASS/Boston squeaking by NEC with a 5-4 win. Saturday’s championship round featured an overtime thriller between UMASS/Boston and Babson resulting in a Babson win.
The Pilgrims entered the semi-final round with a 15-9-2 overall record having eliminated the Southern Maine University Huskies in the quarter-final round. A familiar place for the NEC men’s ice hockey team, the Pilgrims have made eleven consecutive appearances in the ECAC playoffs. This year, three NEC student-athletes received ECAC East honors. Olli Kalliosarri (Hattula, Finland) was named ECAC East Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on the ECAC East Honorable Mention Team and the EAC East All-Rookie Team. Teammate Trevor Turner (Westbank, British Columbia) was named to the ECAC East Second Team and Jarkko Leppanen (Tampere, Finland) was named to the ECAC East All-Rookie Team.
Lee Clement Arena, home of the NEC Pilgrims, was built in 1991 and named for an alumnus and long-time staff member. “Having the home ice advantage in tournament play was an amazing opportunity,” noted Renee Hellert, NEC’s Assistant Athletic Director. “Our student-athletes really appreciate the incredible lift that they get from NEC fans and the community. It was a pleasure to welcome so many new visitors to New England College. This was a great way to show our Pilgrim Pride.”
The ECAC East conference includes Babson College, Castleton State College, the University of Massachusetts/Boston, Norwich University, Saint Anselm College, Saint Michael’s College, Salem State College, Skidmore College, and Southern Maine University.