BIDDEFORD — There will be more hockey of the best variety, March hockey, for Colby College.

Six days after winning the first conference championship in program history, the Mules rebounded from a pair of early deficits, scoring three straight goals to upset seventh-ranked University of New England by a 4-2 count in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament Saturday night at Harold Alfond Forum. Colby, which extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2) with the victory, will play at No. 3 SUNY Geneseo in the quarterfinals next weekend.

“It’s just about confidence,” said Colby senior goalie Sean Lawrence, who posted his eighth straight start with 30 or more saves. “We know we’re a good hockey team. Other people might not think we are just because of our record, but we know what we can do. We kept it even (keel) throughout the whole game.”

Sophomore Kienan Scott scored a pair of goals for the Mules (16-10-2), and Lawrence made 33 saves to backstop the victory. Michael Rudolf and Joe Schuler also accounted for Colby goals.

UNE (20-6-3) took leads of 1-0 in the first period and 2-1 in the second period courtesy of goals from Ryan Bloom and Liam Neuman.

Colby tied the game at 2-2 on Rudolf’s power play goal midway through the game, and Scott scored a shorthanded goal late in the middle period which held up as the eventual game-winner. The win avenged a pair of lopsided regular season losses to UNE in early January.


“You’ve got to play on your toes all the time against them,” Colby head coach Blaise MacDonald said. “We started handing off good shifts (in the second period), and the momentum switched a little bit. We felt good about our efforts.”

TURNING POINT: Scott’s shorthanded goal capped a dominant second period for the Mules and gave Colby its first lead of the night.

A faceoff in the UNE zone went to the right wing corner, where Colby junior center Nick O’Connor hunted the puck down and centered in front for Scott, who swatted it home for his second of goal of the night and a 3-2 Colby lead at the 15:58 mark.

“It was really cool to score that goal,” Scott said. “(O’Connor) got the puck and I started yelling for it and he found me. Instinct took over and I shot it, and I guess it went in.”

The goal came just seconds after Justin Grillo sprung Scott in alone on UNE goalie Tate Sproxton (26 saves), nearly beating him five-hole with a deke at the top of the crease.

“Our transition to defense wasn’t very good at all tonight,” UNE coach Kevin Swallow said. “I think that was the difference in the game. … We knew that was their game, we knew they were a quick transition team. We just didn’t execute at all.”


SPECIAL TEAMS: The Nor’Easters entered the weekend with the nation’s best power play, but the battle of the special teams units went to Colby Saturday night.

Though UNE got on the board with a power play goal in the first period, Colby scored two special-teams goals in its three-goal second period. Rudolf netted his ninth of the season on the power play; Scott’s 11th of the year was his shorthanded go-ahead goal.

Colby went 1-4 on the power play, while UNE was 1-3. The Nor’easters entered the night having succeeded on the power play 35.9 percent of the time this season.

“A tie game, we’re on the power play, we’ve got to like our chances,” Swallow said. “I thought we were in a good position there to grab the lead. For (Scott) to score there was definitely a back-breaker. You could see it on the bench, and you could see it in the guys’ body language as they were coming back to the bench.”

NOT ON THE SCORESHEET: Colby blocked 24 shots as a team — matching the total the Mules blocked in the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship game — but none was bigger than senior Griffin Fadden’s during a UNE power play late in the third period.

Fadden dove headfirst in front of a Ryan Burr blast from the point, knocking out one of his lower teeth and leaving a large dent in the lower half of his protective facemask.


Lawrence said nothing surprises him anymore with the Mules.

“It really doesn’t,” Lawrence said. “You look at what Griff did in the third period, that’s probably the best block I’ve ever seen in 20 years of hockey. He just got up and kept playing. Great group of guys.”

“He couldn’t find his tooth, but he kept playing,” MacDonald said.

SLOW START: Colby did just what it didn’t want to do to start things off, as one of the least penalized team’s in the nation put UNE’s power play on the ice just two minutes into the first.

The man-advantage produced the first goal of the game, with Brady Fleurent finding Bloom creeping in backdoor for the 1-0 lead just one second before a tripping penalty to Colby’s Joe Schuler expired.

It was just the beginning of a first period in which UNE outplayed Colby by a wide margin, piling up a 13-4 shots on goal advantage. The only thing that stood between the Nor’easters and a three- or four-goal lead after 20 minutes was Lawrence.


“I thought we played a tremendous first period. I thought it was some of the best hockey we’ve played all year,” Swallow said. “We were feeling very confident going into the second. We maybe thought it was going to be easy because we had such a good first period and we definitely took the foot off the gas.”

Lawrence made 12 of his 33 saves in the first period.

“It was very uncharacteristic the first period we played. They had a lot of jump,” MacDonald said. “We played a lot of coasting, straight-leg defense. (Lawrence) gave us a chance to find ourselves.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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