Eph skaters edge Middlebury men twice
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s hockey team lost a pair of games to NESCAC rival Williams this past weekend to drop to 5-5-6 in league play, 6-10-5 overall.
The Panthers will look to bounce back this coming Saturday and Sunday, when NESCAC foes Hamilton and Amherst, respectively, visit for a pair of 4 p.m. games.
Williams, ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division III, improved to 17-4-1, 13-2-1 in league play, with two one-goal victories over the Panthers this past weekend.
On Saturday at Kenyon Arena, Middlebury jumped out to a two-goal lead, but Williams netted the final three as the Panthers fell to the Ephs, 3-2.
The Panthers struck for a power-play goal in the final minute of the first period when Travis Stephens tapped in a rebound on a shot by Najjar that bounced off of the high glass on the end boards and back to the side of the net.
Middlebury opened up a 2-0 lead at 11:26 of the second period on a goal by Zach Haggerty. Ronald Fishman sent the puck up to Haggerty along the left wing and the senior forward wristed home a shot from the face-off dot. The goal was his seventh of the season and his third of the weekend.
The Ephs tied the game with two goals in a span of 1:16 later in the period. Colby Cretella tipped in a shot by Tyler Young with 6:27 remaining, and Joe Welch tied the game by sliding in the rebound of a shot by George Hunkele at 14:49.
Williams scored the game-winner 3:10 into the final period, when Alex Hagerty poked in his own rebound after his original shot from the right side was stopped.
Middlebury pulled goalie Liam Moorfield-Yee (32 saves) with 1:14 left in regulation and earned a power play with 25 seconds to go. Kamil Tkaczuk had one chance down low for the Panthers on the man advantage, and two scoring bids in the waning seconds were blocked at the point. Eph goalie Michael Pinios finished with 21 saves.
On Friday at Williams, Cretella scored a minute into overtime to give the Ephs a 5-4 victory over Middlebury. The Ephs trailed 3-1 in the third before taking a 4-3 lead, only to have Middlebury’s Zach Weier tie the game on a power-play goal with 3:43 remaining to force the extra session.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead at 10:40 of the opening period, when Haggerty worked his way past three Ephs in the neutral zone to break in alone on Pinios and beat him with a backhander.
At 16:24 of the first, the Ephs’ Daniel Doherty fired a high wrister that beat Moorfield-Yee.
The Panthers made it 2-1 at 6:09 of the second period. On a three-on-two opportunity, Haggerty picked up a loose puck in the crease and slid one past Pinios after a shot from Matt Doherty. The lead grew to 3-1 with 1:30 left in the second period with a power-play goal from Ronald Fishman.
In the third, the Ephs rattled off three goals and took a 4-3 lead. George Hunkele scored at the 4:51 mark, followed by a goal from Sam Gray to tie the game at 8:24. At 13:53, the Ephs took the lead when Frankie Mork scored.
The Panthers tied the game at 4-4 with 3:43 remaining on the power play. Weier scored the first of his career with a shot from the point.
Pinios finished with 26 saves, while Moorfield-Yee made a career-best 45 stops for Middlebury.