January 26, 2009

The Middlebury College men's hockey team scored three consecutive goals in the second period to break up a scoreless tie, on its way to a 4-2 win over N.E.C. The win extends the Panthers unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1) as they prepare to visit Plattsburgh on Tuesday night. Middlebury held a 44 to 26 advantage in shots.

The game was scoreless after the first period, with the Panthers holding a 17-2 shots advantage. Sophomore Trevor Dodds (Hanover, N.H.) hit the crossbar at 9:15, as Middlebury held the Pilgrims without a shot for the first 15:24 of the game.

Rookie Martin Drolet (Lachine, Que.) put the Panthers on the board just 1:32 into the second period as he tipped in a shot from junior Charlie Townsend (Pennington, N.J.). The lead grew to 2-0 at 7:57 as senior Jamie McKenna (Lake Placid, N.Y.) scored from the high slot on the power play after a feed from first-year player Charles Nerbak (Martinsville, N.J.). McKenna struck again at 10:31, as Sam Dielwart answered for the Pilgrims with his first career goal just 16 seconds later after a timeout. Dielwart scored his second of the game with less than a minute to go in the period to make it a 3-2 game after two.

Sophomore Chaz Svoboda (Verdun, Que.) gave Middlebury some breathing room early in the third when he stuffed in his own rebound for a power play goal. Middlebury rookie John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.) kept it a 4-2 game midway through the period with a great save on Niko Uola. Dodds helped out Yanchek in the final two minutes as he cleared a puck off the goal line.

Yanchek ended the night with 24 saves to earn the win, while Aaron Harvey made 40 stops in a losing effort.

The previous night, Middlebury scored six times in the final two periods, coming from a 2-0 deficit to defeat St. Anselm, 6-4. Zachary Feiden gave St. Anselm a 1-0 lead 5:08 in, with a shorthanded breakaway goal through the five-hole. The lead grew to 2-0 at 16:35, as John Penny scored with an odd-angled shot from the goal line just five feet away from the net. The Panthers ended the period with a slim 11-9 shots advantage.

Middlebury cut the lead in half just 2:53 into the second period as Townsend put home his own rebound after a shot from the left point by senior Ian Drummond (Del Mar, Calif.) was saved. The Panthers continued to threaten as both senior Mack Cummins (SW Ranches, Fla.) and Drolet hit the pipe in a 20 second span. Middlebury knotted the game at two when John Sullivan scored on the power play with some nice stick-work down low. The Panthers took their first lead of the game with 3:00 left in the period with another power play goal. Nerbak made a quick cross-crease pass to Drolet on the far side for the tally. St. Anselm answered with 24 seconds left in the period as Coleman Noonan converted an end-to-end rush to tie the game at 3-3 after two periods of play.

First-year player Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) gave Middlebury a 4-3 lead 8:16 into the third as he scored cutting to the goal after a nice feed from McKenna. Dodds gave the Panthers a two-goal cushion at 11:27 as he scored after a shot was mishandled by the Hawks' goaltender. Strauss scored his second of the game 1:47 later with a wrister from the bottom of the face-off circle. Connor Logan added a late goal for the Hawks to make it a 6-4 final.

Yanchek earned the win with 11 saves in the third period, while senior Doug Raeder (Needham, Mass.) made 13 saves through the first two periods. Pat Gallagher made 35 saves between the pipes for St. Anselm.
. Men's hockey record: 12-2-1
. Up next: 1/30 vs. Wesleyan - 7:00, 1/31 vs. Trinity - 4:00