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Panther men’s hockey drops pair in Maine

WATERVILLE, Maine – The Middlebury College men’s hockey team opened the 2016-2017 season with a pair of tight losses to NESCAC rivals Colby and Bowdoin in Maine.
The Panthers will try to bounce back this weekend in Plattsburgh, which is hosting this year’s Great Northern Shootout. The Panthers will play Norwich at 4 p.m. on Friday, and Plattsburgh will face Concordia at 7 p.m. The Shootout consolation and final will be played on Saturday at 4 and 7 p.m., respectively.
In the Panthers’ opener on Friday, host Colby scored 2:11 into overtime to win, 2-1. The Panthers scored a third-period goal to force overtime after Colby, which outshot Middlebury, 30-18, went ahead in the second period.
The Mules had a pair of chances in the opening minute of the game, but Panther goalie Stephen Klein (28 saves) stopped Kienan Scott twice, the second save coming on a one-timer from the left circle.
Middlebury’s best chance in the opening period came with about eight minutes left, when a Spencer Cage shot from the right side caught a piece of the post.
Colby scored 5:01 into the second period on a power play, when E.J. Rauseo jammed in a rebound from the left doorstep.
The Panthers had a great chance with four minutes left in the period. Mitchell Allen won the puck along the right boards and drove to the net, but Mule goalie Andrew Tucci (17 saves) got a piece of Allen’s rising shot with his left shoulder.
In the third, Middlebury took advantage when Tucci turned the puck over as he tried to play the puck behind the net. Allen centered to Trevor Turnbull for his first collegiate goal 3:58 into the period.
In overtime, the Mules had several chances before Geoff Sullivan fired home a slap shot from the right circle at 2:11.
On Saturday host Bowdoin (1-1) scored four third-period goals to erase a 3-1 Panther lead and prevail, 5-3. The Polar Bears’ go-ahead goal deflected in off a Panther, and they added a shorthanded empty-net strike in the final minute.
The Panthers took the lead on a power play 5:17 into the game. Turnbull went top shelf after taking a Travis Stephens pass across the crease from the right post. 
Bowdoin evened the game midway through the period, also on a power play. Mitch Barrington converted from between the circles after taking a feed from Pat Geary.
Bowdoin, which outshot the Panthers, 33-22, nearly took the lead late in the period, when Daniel McMullan intercepted a puck on the right boards and rocketed a shot off the far post.
Matt Doherty put Middlebury back on top at 11:42 in the second period, beating Polar Bear goalie Nathan Colannino after skating in two on one following a takeaway at center ice.
Danny Jacobs made it 3-1 on a solo effort six minutes into the final period. Jacobs picked the pocket of a Polar Bear near the blue line and converted a breakaway.
But Middlebury couldn’t hold on. The Polar Bears made it 3-2 1:04 later, when Austin Ricci netted Cody Todesco’s cross-crease pass.
Geary evened the game with just over five minutes to play. Chris Wallace fed Geary from the left side and he finished at the far post.
Bowdoin took the lead 3:14 later when Todesco won a faceoff in the Middlebury zone to Ricci, whose deflected shot got past Panther goalie Brian Ketchabaw’s glove to make it 4-3. Wallace added the empty-netter.
Colannino made 19 saves, while Ketchabaw stopped 28 of the 32 shots he faced.

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