WILLIAMSTOWN -- The date has been circled on the calendars of every member of the Williams College men's hockey team since the schedule was released in the fall. Now, Frozen Fenway is here.
"It's been really fast. At the start of the year we found out and the [season] has gone by very quickly," Williams co-captain Nick Anderson said. "Even during Christmas break when we had a couple of weeks off, the time went by really fast. Before you know it, it's here."
The Ephs will be playing the first outdoor game in school history Tuesday night at Fenway Park against NESCAC rival Trinity. It is the 7:30 p.m. second game of a Division III doubleheader. UMass-Boston and Salem State will play in the first game at 4:30 p.m.
The doubleheader is part of the three-week Frozen Fenway celebration, as 16 games were scheduled from Dec. 29 through Jan. 11.
"I have not played an outdoor game, no," Williams goalie Sean Dougherty said before taking the ice at Lansing Chapman Rink for practice Sunday afternoon. "I think I played outside once when I was a kid.
"It should definitely be a lot of fun."
The Ephs enter Tuesday's NESCAC game with a 6-1-2 record and are 4-0-2 in NESCAC. The Bantams are 7-2 and 3-1 in NESCAC. It's going to be a game of offense vs. defense. The Bantams have scored 40 goals to 26 for the Ephs. Dougherty enters the game with a 1.47 goals-against-average, while Trinity goalie Benjamin Couitherd has a 2.30 average.
It's going to be a cold night. While temperatures are expected to be in the low teens at faceoff, the winds will come out of the West at 15-20 miles an hour with gusts up to 35 mph.
Most Williams players have played outdoors in their youth, but that was on a pond or somebody's homemade rink. Forward Alex DeBaere has actually played a regulation game outdoors -- and it was at Fenway Park.
"My junior year at Belmont Hill, we played at Fenway the same year of the Winter Classic," said the junior from Wayland. "I've done it before, but this year it's going to be a little different. We weren't dressing in the locker rooms. We just kind of dressed in the concourse."
As to the game, Williams head coach Bill Kangas said there isn't much they can do different to prepare for the game. Kangas said it's impossible to simulate all the differences in playing inside and playing outdoors. On Sunday, the Ephs tried.
"That's why we turned one bank of lights off in the rink, because there are going to be more spots on the ice because of the spotlights at Fenway, which is different," said Kangas. "The ice conditions will be different. It won't be as smooth as we normally see. The wind, there are so many factors."
As a veteran of the Fenway rink, DeBaere said the same thing his teammates had -- it's important to keep the game simple.
"It's kind of weird playing under the lights at nighttime. It's something you have to get used to, especially when the black puck goes up in the air," he said. "You never know about the ice conditions or the boards. It's going to be a whole new experience for us."
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