January 4, 2010

The Middlebury College men's hockey team captured the 18th annual Middlebury College Holiday Classic with a 5-2 win over Southern Maine in the title game. Sophomore Martin Drolet (Lachaine, Que.) notched three goals with three assists over the two days to earn tournament M.V.P. honors. Babson defeated Salve Regina 5-1 earlier in the day to win the third-place game.

Southern Maine had a pair of golden opportunities to score early on, but breakaway attempts by Dan Rautenberg and Zach Joy were both stopped by sophomore John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.). Middlebury took a 1-0 lead at the 10:36 mark, when sophomore Nick Resor (Westwood, Mass.) poked home a loose puck in the crease area. Yanchek kept it a one-goal game moments later, with another breakaway stop on Rautenberg.

Drolet made it a 2-0 game with 2:01 left in the first period, skating through the slot before scoring with a backhander. The period looked as though it had ended with Middlebury holding a 2-0 lead, but after a discussion with the goal judge, it was ruled that a Southern Maine shot had crossed the goal line at the 19:50 mark. David Nies was credited with the goal for the Huskies, as his shot from the left side hit the post and trickled across the goal line.

After earning six shots on goal on a power play at 12:21, the Panthers broke through with a power play goal at the 15:54 mark. Drolet won a face-off to junior Bryan Curran (Wilmette, Ill.), who scored with a quick spin-around move just outside the slot. The Huskies answered 1:42 later, as Rautenberg broke in with some room and scored with a shot to the five-hole.

Drolet gave the Panthers some breathing room 3:31 into the third period, scoring on a rebound with an open net for his seventh of the season. Resor wrapped up the scoring with a power play goal at the 13:23 mark to make it a 5-2 final.

Koray Celik made 28 saves and allowed five goals in 53:33 of action for Southern Maine, while Mason St. Hilaire earned four saves in 6:27. Yanchek made 18 stops for the Panthers to earn the win.

Curran and junior Ken Suchoski (Bear Creek Township, Pa.) were named to the all-tournament team.

Middlebury opened up its second semester with a 4-0 win over Babson in the first round of the tournament. The shutout win over Babson was the first for Middlebury since they earned three straight shutouts over the Beavers in '99, '00 and '01.

After a scoreless first period, Middlebury scored three second period goals on its way to the victory. Rookie Mathieu Dubuc (Blainville, Que.) gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead just 1:01 into the period, wristing home a shot from the right circle after a feed from senior John Sullivan (Delmar, N.Y.). Resor was next, with a power play goal at 13:11, tipping in an outside blast from first-year player Chris Steele (Revere, Mass.). Drolet scored his fifth of the season with 2:50 left in the period, breaking in and scoring with a shot off the back crossbar.

Curran added a third period power play goal for the Panthers at 1:58, finishing off a rebound after a shot by Dubuc was saved.

Senior Max Kennedy (Cazenovia, N.Y.) earned his first career shutout in goal, improving to 2-0 overall in his career with a 14-save effort. Andrew Peabody made 28 stops between the pipes for the Beavers.
. Men's hockey record: 5-1-2
. Up next: 1/8 vs. Hamilton - 7:00, 1/9 vs. Amherst - 4:00