Men’s hockey wins twice, will host postseason game
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College men’s hockey team swept two visiting league foes on the final weekend of the regular season to claim the No. 4 seed for the NESCAC playoffs.
The Panthers (10-11-3, 8-7-3) at 4 p.m. on Saturday will host No. 5 seed Wesleyan (12-11-1, 8-9-1 NESCAC). It will be the program’s first home playoff game since 2014. Middlebury recently won at Wesleyan, 4-1, while earlier the Cardinals won at Kenyon Arena, 3-1.
Middlebury nailed down the No. 4 seed on this past Saturday by erupting for a season-high in goals in a 6-0 victory over Hamilton (11-9-4, 10-6-2), the NESCAC No. 3 seed.
The Panthers scored thee times in the opening eight minutes. Mitchell Allen tucked in a power-play goal off an Antoine Belisle rebound, Connor Breen one-timed home a shot from the right circle, and Owen Powers added a shorthanded strike with an assist from Breen.
Paddy Bogart made it 3-0 33 seconds into the second period by finding the net after a Powers shot was blocked. The Panthers iced the contest with two goals in the final 7:31 of the third period. On a power play Alex Heinritz backhanded a rebound on a Brendan Dawson point shot, and Danny Tighe closed out the scoring on a feed into the slot from Cole Joslin.
Panther goalie Brian Ketchabaw stopped all 29 shots he faced, while Hamilton goalie Anthony Tirabassi made 14 saves. The Panthers killing off six penalties, including a major for the game’s final 4:11.
On Friday the Panthers defeated visiting Amherst, 3-2, when Powers scored with 23 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Panthers past Amherst 3-2 on Friday evening in Kenyon Arena. The Mammoths started the weekend in fourth place, but dropped two games and finished with the No. 7 seed and a 9-11-4 record, 7-8-3 NESCAC.
Middlebury’s Paddy Mangan made it 1-0 2:03 into the opening period. Mangan’s shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that trickled through traffic. Amherst knotted the game at 11:30 of the second period, when Greg McGunigle scored from the high slot.
Midway through the third, Allen made it 2-1, Middlebury, beating a defender after taking a Matt Danner feed. Sean Wrenn equalized for Amherst with a one-timer from the slot with 4:10 to go.
Powers’s game-winner came after Mammoth goalie Giancarlo Ventre stopped Belisle’s initial point-blank shot. Powers dove across the crease and swept the rebound into the net while lying on the ice for the golden goal.
Panther goalie Jake Horoho made 25 saves, while Ventre stopped 35 shots for Amherst. Middlebury held advantages in shots (38-27) and faceoffs (39-17).
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