February 20, 2012

The Middlebury College men’s hockey team improved its unbeaten streak to six games (5-0-1) with a 2-1 win over Hamilton in Kenyon Arena.

            Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 8:53 into the first period on the second of the year from sophomore Darric White (Fairfield, Conn.). Junior Trevor Pollock (Sunderland, Vt.) passed the puck to White, who scored from the top of the right face-off circle. The first period ended with Middlebury holding a 14-4 shots advantage.

            The Panthers made it a 2-0 game just 33 seconds into the second period. Senior Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) dropped a pass to rookie George Ordway (Long Lake, Minn.), who scored from the slot with a quick wrister for his sixth of the season. Middlebury held an 11-6 shots advantage in the period with 10 penalties whistled.

            Hamilton had three third period power play opportunities but were unable to take advantage until late. The Continentals did get on the board with a power play goal and their netminder pulled with 2:08 remaining. Andrew White fed BJ Lalonde for a quick one-timer from the right side for his first goal of the season.

            The Continentals again pulled Joe Quattrocchi (28 saves) but were unable to tie the game up in the final 1:15. First-year netminder Dan Fullam (Randolph, N.J.) made 14 saves in goal to earn the victory for the Panthers. Middlebury held a 30-15 shots advantage in the game.

Amherst scored two third period goals to pick up a 2-1 road win at Middlebury in the regular season finale for both teams. The Panthers (12-9-3, 11-6-1) are the third seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament, and will host Wesleyan in a quarterfinal game next Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Third-ranked Amherst (20-3-1, 17-1) enters the tourney as the top seed and will host #8 Hamilton on Saturday.

            Middlebury has some quality chances midway through the period, as sophomore Mike Longo (Morristown, N.J.) was denied before Jonathan LaRose made a big save on the follow up attempt by sophomore Tom Freyre (New Canaan, Conn.). Strauss saw a nice wrister from the left wing denied at 13:00, while Fullam came up big on Amherst’s Erik Hansen on the other end of the ice as he broke in alone. The period ended with the Panthers holding an 11-4 shots advantage.

            Middlebury jumped on the board 3:05 into the second period when Pollock scored his fourth of the season with a blast from the right point on the power play. The Panthers continued to pepper the Amherst net, with some great scoring chances midway through the period. Freyre nearly netted his second of the game at the 11:05 mark after a scramble, before junior Chris Brown’s (Quincy, Mass.) blast from the right point was denied by LaRose. Brown had another great chance with 2:55 to go driving to the goal from the left side, but his first shot and follow up were both stopped. The Panthers outshot the Jeffs 17-4 in the period.

            Amherst came out charging in the third period, putting several shots on the Panther net. Holding a 9-0 shots advantage the first 10 minutes of play, the Jeffs took advantage of their 10th shot to tie the game at 1-1. Mike Rowbotham spun away from a defender behind the net and then banked a shot in off Fullam from behind the goal line for this sixth of the season.

            The Panthers had a chance to regain the lead on a power play at the 12:44 mark, but instead gave up a shorthanded tally. Andrew Kurlandski skated up the right wing and cut to the goal with a shot to the top left corner on the breakaway. The goal was his seventh of the year, the first shorthanded.

            Middlebury pulled Fullam (19 saves) at the 18:40 mark, with senior Charles Nerbak (Martinsville, N.J.) getting a good look from the point with a glove save from LaRose (30 saves). The Panthers had 30.7 seconds of six-on-four play after a late Jeff penalty. The game ended with a scramble in the crease after a shot from Longo was saved, as LaRose covered a loose puck as time expired. Amherst held an 11-3 shots advantage in the third period, with Middlebury outshooting the Jeffs 31-21 in the game.
• Men’s Hockey record: 12-9-3
• Up next: 2/25 vs. Wesleyan – NESCAC Quarterfinals – 4:00