January 18, 2010

The Middlebury College men's hockey team settled for its fourth tie of the season as the Panthers earned a point with a 2-2 NESCAC road game at Trinity. Bantam Ryan Crapser scored with just 1:34 remaining on the clock to force the game into overtime, after Trinity had trailed 2-0. Trinity moves to 6-4-2, while seventh-ranked Middlebury goes to 6-1-4. The Panthers held a 40-23 shots advantage in the contest.

Middlebury got off to a quick 1-0 start, courtesy of junior Ken Suchoski (Bear Creek Township, Pa.), who was able to find the back of the net just 3:22 into the game. After a scoreless second period, the Panthers added a quick goal to open the third, taking a 2-0 lead when rookie defenseman Chris Steele (Revere, Mass.) scored 2:30 into the final frame.

The Bantams answered three minutes later when Jeffrey Menard beat Middlebury senior Max Kennedy (Cazenovia, N.Y.) to bring Trinity within a goal. The teams exchanged shots and scoring opportunities until Crapser was able to tie the score in the final two minutes.

Trinity goaltender Wesley Vesprini and Kennedy would not allow a game-winning goal to get past them for the remainder of regulation and in the five minute overtime. Vesprini finished the game with 38 saves, while Kennedy made 21 for the Panthers.

Middlebury (7-1-4, 4-0-4 league) maintained its men's ice hockey mastery over Wesleyan (5-7, 2-6) as rookie Chris Brown (Quincy, Mass.) scored the first two goals of his career, the second with 9:17 left in the game to break a 1-1 tie, and propel the Panthers to a 3-1 win over Wesleyan. Brown, who has played in just three games this season, now has a pair of goals and an assist on the year.

With two Wesleyan penalties called just 10 seconds apart midway through the third period, Middlebury took little time capitalizing on the two-man advantage opportunity. Brown scored from the left side on a rebound of a central shot taken by sophomore Tucker Donohoe (Canton, Mass.). Wesleyan netminder Glenn Stowell made the initial stop but the puck went straight to Brown who had the left side of the net wide open as a target for the go-ahead tally. Wesleyan had a pair of power-play chances down the stretch but could not come up with the equalizer. Senior John Sullivan (Delmar, N.Y.) then deposited the puck into an empty net, as Stowell had been pulled with 40 seconds to go. That insurance goal came with just 10 seconds remaining, giving Middlebury a 32-0-2 all-time record vs. Wesleyan.

Wesleyan had drawn first blood at 7:13 of the opening period. John Guay fired a rising wrister past Kennedy to the glove side for his seventh goal of the year tying him for the team lead and improving his team-best point total to 15. Brown countered at the 16:57 mark with a power-play goal for the first of his career. He sent a whistling slap shot from the left circle past Stowell right along the ice. Suchoski had an assist on the play and also assisted on the empty-netter to up his seasonal scoring to 12 points.

Stowell finished the game with 27 saves for Wesleyan while Kennedy needed just 14 stops for Middlebury as the Panthers doubled-up on the Cardinals in total shots, 30-15.
. Men's hockey record: 7-1-4
. Up next: 1/22 @ N.E.C. - 7:00, 1/23 @ St. Anselm - 4:30