Middlebury men skate to split at tourney

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s hockey team split a pair of games this past weekend at the Panthers’ Middlebury Holiday Classic. At 5-4-1 Middlebury has exceeded the number of victories from this past winter. The Panthers will play road games at NESCAC rivals Wesleyan and Connecticut this coming weekend.
On this past Sunday Hobart, then ranked No. 15 in NCAA Division III, blanked the Panthers in the tournament’s title game, 3-0. Hobart (9-4) took charge with two goals in the opening period and outshot Middlebury, 31-15.
Lawson MacDougall’s power-play wrist shot gave Hobart the lead at 6:21 of the first period. Five minutes later Will Harrison converted a centering feed in transition from Dean Sliney to make it 2-0.
Middlebury had a chance to cut into the Statesmen lead in the second period on a five-minute power play. The best Panther bid came on a Conor Breen shot from the left point through traffic that Hobart goalie Alexander Connal (15 saves) kicked aside.
Hobart made it 3-0 at 8:04 of the third on a Mike Faulkner strike from the slot. The Panthers had another five-minute power play, during which Hobart was whistled for a minor penalty to give the hosts a two-minute five-on-three advantage.
Middlebury nearly scored when Mitchell Allen’s shot leaked through Connal, but defenseman Tanner Shaw swept the puck away just before it crossed the goal line. Adam Wisco made 28 saves for the Panthers.
On Saturday the Panthers edged Johnson & Wales, 3-2, on a tiebreaking Owen Powers’ goal with 2:45 left in the third period.
Middlebury took the lead at 14:58 of the first, when Michael Fahie buried a long rebound off the end boards. Two minutes later Wisco (28 saves) denied a breakaway by Wildcat Conor Cassidy.
The Wildcats tied the score 1:23 into the second period, when Bryan Colburn slid in a rebound. A Matt Danner breakaway goal at 13:04 restored Middlebury’s lead. The play started when Conor Breen blocked a shot and flipped a long pass ahead to Danner.
Johnson & Wales tied the game with a shorthanded goal 1:51 into the third period. Stephen Rocchio picked the puck up in his own zone and raced up the left side, cut to goal and stuffed a short shot home.
Midway through the period Wisco made a huge stop on Jake Glod midway after the Panthers turned over the puck just inside their own blue line.
Powers’ game-winner came on a rebound of Brendan Dawson’s shot from the left point. Wildcat goalie Mike Rockwell stopped 36 shots for his 3-9-2 team, which lost the consolation game to the University of New England.
Hobart’s Julien Deincourt was named the tournament’s MVP, and Panthers Fahie and Kamil Tkaczuk made the all-tournament team.

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