That doesn't mean the top seeded Bantams didn't have their own drama as any loss would hurt their chances for one of the four available at-large, officially known as a "Pool -C", bids to the DIII NCAA Tournament should Trinity not win the NESCAC Tournament. Remember, Trinity won the national title in 2015 only because they got an at-large bid to the tourney after being shocked by eight seed Tufts in the opening round of the NESCAC playoffs.
This iteration of the Bantams, who only have two players that played in that 2015 title game (Tyler Whitney and Anthony Sabitsky), fell to their travel partner Wesleyan on Friday 2-1 for the first time since February of 2013. The Cardinals ruined the Bantams senior night thanks to 34 saves from Tim Sestak and two first period goals that held up. The Bantams would respond in kind by ruining the Cardinals senior night the next day 3-1 despite another 38 saves from the sophomore Sestak.
Conn College ended up holding on to the number two seed thanks to a dismantling of Bowdoin 7-3 after a 2-2 tie with Colby. The loss eliminated the Polar Bears from the playoffs for the first time since NESCAC conference playoffs began in the 1999-2000 season. In the Colby game, sophomore Jacob Moreau scored two goals to move into a tie by the end of the weekend with frosh Paul Capozzi for the team lead in goals at 10 after Capozzi had two of his own in the Bowdoin game.
Amherst backed into the third spot after a wild 6-5 loss to seventh seed Williams and a 2-2 tie with last place Middlebury. The Mammoths fell into a 6-1 hole against their bitter rivals less than half way through the game before exploding for four third period goals, including two from sophomore Joey Lupo. As Exhibit A in the case for NESCAC general parity, Amherst headed into OT with the last placed team in the league with three different seedings still possible: second if they won (would have jumped Conn), third if they tied (they won the tiebreaker with Hamliton, and fourth if they lost (they would have won the tiebreaker over Wesleyan).
Speaking of fourth, Hamilton rode NESCAC Player of the Week Evan Buitnehuis into a home playoff game with a 1-0 win over Middlebury and a 0-0 tie with Williams (the third such outcome in the NESCAC this season). They were the second and third straight shutouts for the reigning D-III Player of the Year, who returned from a month out the previous weekend and ended the regular season first in the D-III nation in goals against (1.22 per game) and save % (.956). The Continentals will play the previously mentioned fifth seed Cardinals, whom they faced in an exciting semifinal game a year ago.
Sixth place Colby closed out the regular season in style with a 3-0 blanking of Tufts thanks to 30 saves from Sean Lawrence. The Jumbos still made the playoffs, however, by defeating Bowdoin 4-2 the night prior. The Jumbos have made the playoffs the last four seasons after only making the playoffs five times in their first thirteen seasons (2002-2014) and never more than two straight seasons in that time frame.