WATERVILLE — The new digs suit the Colby College men’s hockey team just fine.

The 14th-ranked Mules got a pair of goals from senior Quinn Doyle and christened Jack Kelley Rink properly with a 6-4 win over Hamilton College in the New England Small College Athletic Conference semifinals Saturday.

After winning the NESCAC’s regular-season title, top-seeded Colby (17-5-2) plays No. 2 Trinity College for the conference championship — and the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament — on Sunday. Trinity blanked Williams 4-0 in the day’s first semifinal.

Colby has won 11 of its last 13 games at home this season, the first season at Kelley Rink.

“It’s surreal,” said Doyle. “If you had told us we’d be at this point at the start of the year, we’d have taken it in an instant. To be able to live it out now is just an incredible experience.”

The Mules opened a 5-2 lead midway through the third period when senior defenseman Michael Thomas connected on the power play at 10:19.


The Continentals (11-10-1) made things interesting with a Fred Allaire goal just 47 seconds later, and another with 1:36 remaining with goaltender Sean Storr (30 saves) pulled for an extra attacker.

“They’re a team with a lot of bite, and we knew they were not going to go away,” said Colby coach Blaise MacDonald. “I liked the fact that we created a lot of chances. … I think we could have put the game away earlier, but that’s the way the puck bounces sometimes.

“It was a gritty win. It’s hard to end somebody’s season.”

Trinity’s Gerard Maretta (22) tries to escape from Williams’ Nick Altmann (25) during the NESCAC men’s hockey semifinals Saturday at Colby College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Colby sealed the victory with Doyle’s second into an empty net, 66 seconds from the finish line.

“A big part of this team is that there’s not a lot of panic in this group,” Doyle said. “Throughout the season, you’re going to have a lot of highs and lows, but we’ve been pretty even keel at controlling our emotions.

“I don’t think we ever hit the panic button at all. We trust ourselves, and trust every man that steps on the ice.”


Colby got off to a good start in the first period, taking a 2-1 lead through a dominant opening 20 minutes with goals from Jake MacDonald and Quinn. Quinn’s go-ahead goal came in the final minute of the period when John McElhany (two assists) trailing the play on an odd-man rush.

Hamilton started the second much stronger than it had the first, and evened things up early in the middle period.

Cade Groton scored his first of two while on the power play at 1:52, after the Mules twice failed on clear opportunities to clear the defensive zone.

Colby responded, though, with two goals in a span of 4:31 to take a two-goal lead.

“Our resiliency was the key thing,” Thomas said. “I think we just kept fighting through to make sure we were getting pucks deep and trying to play our game.”

Sophomore defenseman Jack Sullivan spearheaded both plays. First, Jake Klein redirected a Sullivan shot, and then Jacob Thousand was on the receiving end of a hard Sullivan centering pass from the left wing circle.


On a night when Colby’s top line of Michael Morrissey between Justin Grillo and Carter Breitenfeldt was kept off the scoresheet entirely, the Mules’ secondary scoring came up big.

“You can still build off that energy,” Doyle said. “Even though those guys weren’t getting the goals, they were still getting pucks in and controlling the game. Our deeper lines can build off that.”

Sophomore all-NESCAC netminder Andy Beran made 29 saves for Colby, including 15 in the third period.

It’s a quick turnaround for Colby for a 2 p.m. faceoff for the NESCAC championship game Sunday.

“We need to be better exiting our zone,” MacDonald said. “If we’re a team that’s pretty clean exiting our zone, that will help our game. We need to yield at a much higher level on our chances, and we need to get championship goaltending.”

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