January 5, 2009

The Middlebury College men's hockey team hosted the 17th annual Holiday Classic Tournament over the weekend. N.E.C. won the tournament with a 4-2 win over Curry. Middlebury cruised to a 6-1 win over St. Anselm in the consolation game as they return to league play this weekend when they host Castleton and Skidmore.

Middlebury came out firing with three first period goals to take an early lead. Senior Mason Graddock (Stowe, Vt.) opened the scoring as he put home a rebound after a pair of shots were saved. Senior Ian Drummond (Del Mar, Calif.) made it a 2-0 game with a shot from the high slot after a nice feed from behind the net by senior Mack Cummins (SW Ranches, Fla.). St. Anselm failed to convert on a pair of power plays, as Alex Wyse kept it a 2-0 game with an impressive stop on a breakaway attempt by classmate Martin Drolet (Lachine, Que.). The Panthers went up by three at 16:07 as rookie Tucker Donahoe (Canton, Mass.) found the back of the net from in front on the power play.

The lead grew to 4-0 as first-year player Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) tipped in a shot from the outside by Drolet. Junior John Sullivan (Delmar, N.Y.) made it a 5-0 game at 11:05, before Joe Fernald scored on the power play for St. Anselm with a nice feed from Seth Goodrich.

Sullivan scored the lone third period goal on the power play with an assist from Martin Drolet to make it a 6-1 final. Rookie John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.) made 23 saves in goal to earn the win, while Alex Wyse and Brian Dowd combined to make 38 saves for the Hawks.

Middlebury suffered its first loss of the season as the Panthers fell to Curry 4-1 in their first game of the weekend. The Panthers held a 36-26 shots advantage in the game, but saw 35 turned away by Curry netminder Steven Jakiel.

Curry took a 1-0 lead 7:13 into the first period as James Pentecost's shot from the left point sailed into the top right corner of the net. The Colonels made it a 2-0 game with 1:22 left in the period as Sean Sylvester scored on the power play with a nice cross-crease pass from Pentecost.

The lead grew to 3-0 only 52 seconds into the third as Michael Guzzo's shot from the top of the zone deflected in off the skate of a defender. The Panthers threatened later in the period but Graddock's shot in transition was denied by Jakiel. Middlebury broke through at 11:51 as Strauss scored from the slot after a shot from sophomore Bryan Curran (Wilmette, Ill.) was saved.

The Panthers ended the second period and began the third with some power play opportunities, including some five-on-three time, but could not cut into the lead. Middlebury had a couple more chances, including another power play, but was not able to find the back of the net in the third.

Curry took a comfortable lead with 8:09 remaining as Jeffrey Hazelwood fed Guzzo for his second tally of the game to make it a 4-1 final.

Strauss earned all-tournament honors for the Panthers.
. Men's hockey record: 7-1
. Up next: 1/9 vs. Castleton - 7:00, 1/10 vs. Skidmore - 4:00