Men’s hockey keeps winning
CLINTON, N.Y. — The Middlebury College men’s hockey team won two NESCAC games on the road this past weekend to improve to 5-1 in league play, 6-2 overall.
After defeating Amherst on Friday, 3-2, and Hamilton on Saturday, 3-0, the Panthers are in a three-way battle for the top of the league with Trinity (7-0, 4-0 NESCAC) and Williams (6-2, 5-1 NESCAC).
The Panthers are now idle until their annual holiday tournament set for Jan. 3 and 4. They will take on St. Michael’s on the opening day at 4 p.m.
On Saturday Middlebury goalie Brian Ketchabaw worked a 24-save shutout to backstop the Panthers in their 3-0 win at Hamilton (3-4-0, 2-3-0). Middlebury pushed its conference winning streak to five games, with four of those coming on the road.
The Panthers scored their first goal on a power play late in the opening period. Billy Dobensky took an Owen Powers pass along the right boards, skated into the circle and fired a shot into the upper left corner at 16:30.
Alex Heinritz made it 2-0 at 16:51 of the second period with a shot from the point that found its way through traffic behind Hamilton goalie Anthony Tirabassi. Ketchabaw saw his busiest period in the second, stopping 11 Continental shots.
In the third period the Panthers killed two penalties, making it a perfect 10-for-10 on the penalty kill for the weekend. Middlebury iced the victory with 35 seconds remaining when Mitchell Allen scored into an empty net.
Sean Storr started the game in goal for Hamilton and made eight saves in 24:39 of action, while Tirabassi stopped 16 shots in 31:42. Middlebury outshot Hamilton, 27-24, and scored on its only power play.
On Friday at Amherst Middlebury scored three times in a span of 1:31 in the second period in a 3-2 win at Amherst (2-5-1, 1-4-0 NESCAC).
The Mammoths took the lead with 5:24 expired, when Christian Powers picked up the puck in the left circle and converted after Mitchell Shults saw his shot from the left side hit off a Panther defender.
Middlebury had a great chance three minutes later when Brendan Dawson snuck in the from the left point, but was thwarted by Mammoth goalie Giancarlo Ventre, who went post-to-post to deny the bid.
In the opening seven minutes of the second period Middlebury thwarted three Amherst power plays, and used that momentum to spark the offense. The first of the three-goal run started with a tally in front by Matt Danner. Then 33 seconds later Zach Shapiro tipped in a shot from the point by Bret Pastor for his team-leading fifth goal of the season. Powers capped the burst off a scramble in front of the Mammoth net with 10:41 on the clock for the 3-1 lead.
Amherst had a chance to make it 3-2 late in the middle period, but Sean Wrenn’s shot from the left wing on an odd-man rush grazed the pipe.
Early in the final 20 minutes, the Panther penalty-killing unit came up huge again, erasing 39 seconds of five-on-three play. With 4:28 to go, the Mammoths struck while shorthanded when Shults carried the puck into the Middlebury zone and connected from the left circle to make it 3-2.
Amherst pulled Ventre with just over a minute on the clock for an extra attacker, but the Panthers limited the Mammoths to only one shot to secure the victory.
Middlebury goalie Brian Ketchabaw made 23 saves on 25 shots, while Ventre stopped 31 of 34 for the Mammoths.
The Panthers wiped out seven Amherst power plays, and came up empty on five of their own.
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