BEVERLY, Mass. – After a tumultuous first half of the season, the Johnson & Wales University men's ice hockey team found its groove in January. Unfortunately, the Wildcats' run was ended in the semifinals of the CCC playoffs as they dropped a 4-2 decision at ninth-ranked Endicott on Wednesday.
Johnson & Wales: 11-12-4
JWU: Joey Ballmer - 57 saves, 4 goals
EC: Kevin Aldridge - 25 saves, 2 goals
Endicott got out to an early lead with a goal at the 2:04 mark, but JWU answered two minutes later. Ben Brouillard (Somerset, Mass.) put back the rebound of Nicholas Gray's (Stafford, Va.) shot for his ninth goal of the season.
The Gulls scored with less than three minutes left in the first period, but the Wildcats pulled even in the second period. Connor Bates (Laconia, NH) tallied his team-leading 12th goal of the year just 6:47 into the frame when he redirected Michael Mazzotta's (Mars, Pa.) shot into the goal.
Unfortunately, Endicott got another late goal to take a 3-2 lead into the third period and later added an insurance goal. The Gulls had a definitive 61-27 advantage in shots as JWU senior goalie Joey Ballmer (Kalamazoo, Mich.) made a career-high 57 saves. He finished his career as the JWU all-time leader in wins (51) and saves (2,910).
First-year head coach James LaCour will have to reload the Wildcats next season as he loses four of his top five scorers as well as his top defensive line.