WATERVILLE — Things were better on Saturday for Colby College’s hockey team, but they were far from perfect.

Williams College scored twice in the third period, rallying all the way back from a two-goal mid-game deficit to post a 4-3 win over the Mules in a New England Small College Athletic Conference game at Alfond Rink. The Ephs got a pair of power-play goals, including the game-winner from Marcus Mollica with less than nine minutes remaining, as their top line had a hand in all four goals.

“We’re hounds on the puck. That’s what causes turnovers,” senior center Roberto Cellini said of his line, which also includes Mollica and Max Fuld. “When D’s get a little shaky with it, we’re there to pounce. We read well off of each other, and we all think the game the same way — always looking for that next pass, that next play, which feeds what we do.”

After beating Bowdoin Friday night, it marked the first time Williams (2-0-0) swept a weekend trip to Maine’s NESCAC schools since Bill Kangas became the Ephs’ coach in 1989.

“We had some pretty good bounces in the third,” Kangas said. “To save one early in the year, especially down a couple goals on the road here, is pretty good. Our guys kept plugging away.”

Colby (0-2-0) was in the driver’s seat after freshman Logan Clarke scored his first career goal just six seconds shy of the midway point of the second period, giving the Mules a 3-1 lead.

But 6-foot-4 defenseman Jack McCool scored in transition to pull Williams to within one before the second intermission, and Cellini stuffed home a short-side shot 39 seconds into the third to tie the score.

Three Mule penalties in the final period flirted with disaster, and the Ephs made them pay as Mollica’s fourth of the young season came on the power play and provided the difference — his wrister from 10 feet inside the blue line fluttering through traffic and eluding Colby goalie Andrew Tucci (25 saves). The Ephs finished with a 2-for-6 night on the man advantage.

“The penalties really hurt us,” Colby coach Blaise MacDonald said. “We need to eliminate the self-inflicted wounds.”

Cellini’s line has now been on the ice for all eight Williams’ goals in the first two games of the season. Cellini finished with a goal and two assists Saturday.

“We weren’t sure of our lines because we’re still working some things out, but they were playing together — we’d already figured that out,” Kangas said. “(Cellini and Mollica) are senior roommates and they love playing together. If they keep playing like that, they’ll keep playing together, for sure.”

Colby nearly tied the score with 14 seconds remaining in regulation, with Tucci pulled in favor of an extra attacker, but Kienan Scott’s shot from the right circle rang off the crossbar.

“It’s a game of inches,” MacDonald said.

Niko Karamanis handed Williams a 1-0 lead early in the first period before Colby freshman defenseman Michael Thomas pulled the Mules even prior to the break.

J.P. Schuhlen and Clarke, who each finished with a goal and an assist, scored for Colby early in the second period to hand the home team a two-goal lead.

From there, the wheels began to fall off for Colby, which has opened defense of the program’s first NESCAC championship with consecutive losses to open the season. The effort was better Saturday against the Ephs than it was Friday night against Middlebury — Colby’s urgency and puck management was markedly improved, as the contributions up and down the lineup — but it was still not enough.

“We’re just trying to find a new identity right now,” Colby senior defenseman Thomas Stahlhuth said. “It’s kind of a good wakeup call. Unfortunately, you lose four points, but at the same time you need something to wake you up and regroup. This is it.”

“We’re in the process of progress,” MacDonald said. “The process was better, the progress was better. The outcomes will take care of themselves.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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