February 16, 2009

The Middlebury College men's hockey team won for the fourth time in its last five games as the Panthers earned a 3-2 win over Babson in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers held a 33-25 shots advantage on the night.

Babson wasted no time as J.T. Balben scored on a rebound after a shot from Jason Schneider was saved just 23 seconds into the game. Senior Leonard Badeau (Marshfield, Vt.) intercepted a clearing pass and returned the favor from the high slot to tie the game at 1-1 just 59 seconds later. Senior Mason Graddock (Stowe, Vt.) gave Middlebury a 2-1 lead at 7:27, scoring through the five-hole after cutting to the net along the goal line. First-year player Charles Nerbak (Martinsville, N.J.) almost made it a 3-1 game with four minute remaining as his shot hit the crossbar after a flurry.

The Panthers took advantage of a five-on-three power play in the second, as sophomore Michael Kretschmer (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored from the high slot on a feed from sophomore Ken Suchoski (Bear Creek Township, Pa.). Badeau had a shot at his second of the game with 2:30 left in the period, but his shorthanded breakaway attempt was denied by Andrew Peabody. Babson made it a one-goal game with 1:12 left in the period as Alex DiPietro scored with a blast from the blue line on the power play.

Neither team found the back of the net in the third period, as the Panthers came away with the 3-2 win. Peabody made some big saves late to keep the Beavers in the game, as Babson could not score in the final 1:40 with the extra attacker.

First-year goaltender John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.) and senior Doug Raeder (Needham, Mass.) combined to made 23 saves for the Panthers, while Peabody made 30 saves for the Beavers.

Eric Tufman snapped a shot home just 44 seconds into overtime to lift UMass.-Boston to its second win in as many years over Middlebury, this time by a score of 3-2. The Panthers fall to 16-5-1 overall and 13-3-1 in NESCAC play, while UMB moves to 8-13-2, 4-12-1 in ECAC East play. With the loss, Middlebury moves into second place in the NESCAC, two points behind Amherst, who they'll visit on Friday. The Panthers outshot the Beacons, 39-18 on the night.

First-year player Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) hit the crossbar for Middlebury 4:45 into the first period before Graddock snapped in a wrister from the right side at 6:59 for a 1-0 lead. Raeder kept the lead in tact at the eight-minute mark as he denied a golden opportunity by Tufman. The Beacons tied the game at 9:12 with some nice stick-work driving to the goal by Wayne Sands, before he scored from just outside the crease. Graddock struck again at 14:44 as he gathered his own rebound and scored from the right side to make it a 2-1 Middlebury lead.

Middlebury had a great chance to take a 3-1 lead 4:00 into the second period, but UMB defender Brett Calhoun saved a shot on an open net by rookie Martin Drolet (Lachine, Que.). The Panther defense was strong in the period, not allowing a shot until the 14:08 as they held an 11-3 shots advantage in the period.

UMB tied the game in the third period with a five-on-three power play. Sands netted his second of the night off a feed from Eric Tufman, as his shot deflected in off the skate of a Middlebury defender. Middlebury went on a power play with 2:28 left in the game, but could not score the game-winner as the contest headed into overtime.

Raeder ended the night with 15 saves for Middlebury, while Ryan Donovan came up big for UMB, making 37 stops on the night.
. Men's hockey record: 16-5-1
. Up next: 2/20 @ Amherst, 2/21 @ Hamilton