Panthers skate to loss in home-ice shootout

MIDDLEBURY — Despite outshooting both opponents, the Middlebury College men’s hockey team this past weekend in the Primelink Great Northern Shootout in Kenyon Arena settled for a loss and a tie against a pair of opponents who entered the tournament ranked in the top-10 in NCAA Division III.
On Friday, No. 10 Elmira edged the No. 11 Panthers, 3-2, and in Saturday’s consolation game the Panthers and No. 6 Plattsburgh skated to a 0-0 tie.
No. 1 Norwich won the Shootout for the seventh time. The 6-0 Cadets blanked Plattsburgh on Friday, 3-0, and prevailed in Saturday’s title game, 5-2, over Elmira.
In Saturday’s consolation game of the 14th annual Shootout, the 2-1-1 Panthers outshot the 5-2-1 Cardinals, 26-19, in the 0-0 contest. The game was the first scoreless tie played in Kenyon Arena since the Panthers tied Bowdoin on Feb. 7, 2008.
The first period ended with few shots. Several of them were high quality chances for Middlebury, while the Cardinals had one strong bid. Martin Drolet hit the pipe with a backhander on the power play at 5:00 mark, and Panther netminder Nick BonDurant stopped Mark Constantine breaking in on a Cardinal power play 2:30 later.
Charlie Strauss, who was named to the all-tournament team, had a quality shot stopped by Cardinal goalie Josh Leis’s glove save later in the period. The Panthers also hit another pipe at 11:40, when Louis Belisle found iron after a nice feed from Trevor Pollock.
Neither team developed any great chances in the second period, which ended with the Panthers holding a 16-9 advantage in shots.
Plattsburgh went on the power play at 13:29 of the third and mustered a couple shots on goal, but the Cardinals’ best chance of the period came when time was winding down and Vick Schlueter broke in alone but was stopped by BonDurant.
In overtime, a Drolet blast hit Leis’s helmet at 2:57, and BonDurant made a big stop on Nick Jensen with 41 seconds remaining. Drolet had another chance in the final seconds, but Leis made the glove save.
BonDurant finished the game with 19 saves to earn his first career shutout, while Leis made 26 stops.
On Friday, Elmira knocked off the Panthers by scoring three goals in a 1:42 span of the opening period.        
Middlebury nearly took a 1-0 lead 1:23 into the game, but Drolet was robbed by a diving glove save from Elmira’s Darren McDonald. Chris Brown of Middlebury had a good look in the sixth minute, but hit the pipe.        
Elmira’s three-goal run began at 6:37, when Brendan Sanders scored from the near post after Panther goalie John Yanchek made the initial stop. Martin Lee scored 42 seconds later, tipping in a shot from the right point by Brock Sawyer. The third tally came 53 seconds later, with Wes Consorti setting up Regan McClean at 8:12.
Middlebury got on the board at 14:58 mark, when Brett Brazier scored his first of the season. Strauss carried the puck towards the goal, and Brazier redirected his pass into the back of the net.
The Panthers made it a one-goal game 1:57 into the second period with a power-play goal. Brown’s shot from the left point was saved, but Strauss pounced on the rebound and scored.
Middlebury had a five-on-three power play for 41 seconds in the third, and later went on another power play at 11:28, but could not score.        
Elmira had a great chance for a two-goal lead later in the period, but Yanchek came up huge on John Clewlow in a two-on-one to keep it at 3-2. The Panthers pulled Yanchek for the final 1:10, but to no avail.
Middlebury held a 32-22 advantage in shots, including a 13-4 margin in the third period. Yanchek finished with 19 saves, while McDonald made 29 stops.
The Panthers are on the road for the next two weekends, and then will take a three-week holiday break before hosting Southern Maine, Potsdam and Skidmore in a four-team tourney on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
In Saturday’s final, Elmira (5-3) took a 1-0 lead just 41 seconds in when Clewlow centered to Darcy Vaillancourt for the goal from the slot. Norwich tied the game on the power play at 13:05, with Doug Lindensmith finishing from the doorstep after an initial save.
The Cadets increased their lead to 3-1 later in the period with a pair of identical power play goals 1:51 apart. Pier-Olivier Cotnoir scored both with blasts from the point, with the feeds coming from Travis Janke via Kyle Thomas.
Elmira made it a one-goal game with 2:43 left in the period on a breakaway from Clewlow. The first period ended with Norwich holding an 18-13 shots advantage.
After a scoreless second period, Kyle Thomas gave Norwich a 4-2 lead at 9:29 of the third by netting his own rebound. Norwich added an empty-netter with 45 seconds remaining, when Corey Hale scored with a clearing flip from 150 feet away. Parker Carroll made 22 saves in goal for the Cadets, while McDonald earned 24 stops for the Soaring Eagles.  
The Cadets jumped on top of the Cardinals on Friday 12:05 into the first period, when Lindensmith poked home his own rebound. The Cadets made it 2-0 early in the second period with a shorthanded goal. Colin Mulvey stole the puck in the high slot and scored with a wrister to the blocker side. Travis Janke added an empty-netter in the late going for the Cadets. Norwich’s Carroll made 12 saves in goal, while Mathieu Cadieux made 15 stops for Plattsburgh.

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