January 3, 2012

Middlebury and Southern Maine battled to a 2-2 tie on day two of the 19th annual Middlebury College Holiday Classic. By virtue of a points system used for the tournament, the #15 Panthers were deemed the tournament champions.

            Middlebury opened the scoring 3:33 into the game with a power play goal just seven seconds into the opportunity. Senior Tucker Donohoe’s (Canton, Mass.) shot from the left point was saved, as was senior Charles Nerbak’s (Martinsville, N.J.) first rebound attempt. Nerbak stuck with it and finished on the third shot attempt for his fifth of the year.

            Both goaltenders made sparkling saves midway through the period, keeping it a 1-1 game. USM’s Braely Torris stopped rookie George Ordway (Long Lake, Minn.) on a breakaway at 9:26, before sophomore Nick BonDurant (Macedon, N.Y.) made a nice save on Troy Thibodeau who broke in all alone at the 11:55 mark.

            Southern Maine tied the game 3:42 into the second period, when David Neis’ shot hit the pads of BonDurant and went up and over for his third of the year. The Huskies made it a 2-2 game at 14:14 when Ben Pearl scored his second of the year on a quick redirect after a pass from the corner by Jamie Osborne.

         Middlebury went on a five-on-three power play for 1:52 in the third period, tying the game at the 4:51 mark. Sophomore Louis Belisle (Repentigny, Que.) tipped in a shot from Donahoe for his third of the season to make it a 2-2 game. The Huskies went on a power play at the 14:10 mark, with Matt MacDonald hitting the pipe just after the man-advantage had expired.

            Middlebury had a golden opportunity late with a power play with 2:59 remaining, but could not score the game winner. In the overtime, USM went on the man-advantage at the 2:58 mark, but were unable to capitalize. Middlebury senior Martin Drolet (Montreal, Que.) had the best chance of the OT as time was expiring, but he was denied by Torris (32 saves). BonDurant made 18 stops for Middlebury as the Panthers held a 34-20 shots advantage in the contest.

         Senior Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) and junior Mathieu Castonguay (St. Edouard, Que.) earned all-tournament team honors for the Panthers.

Middlebury scored twice early in the third period to put the game away as the Panthers earned a 5-0 win over Skidmore on the first day of the tourney.

            Middlebury took a 1-0 lead just 2:59 into the game with Drolet scoring with a great move on the doorstep. Nick Dupuis rang the post for Skidmore at the 7:00 mark, before the Panthers took a 2-0 lead with a four-on-four goal at the 11:10 mark. Senior Tom Cantwell (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) sent a puck in from the point that was tipped down low by junior Chris Brown (Quincy, Mass.) for his first of the year. The Panthers nearly took a 3-0 at 16:30, but sophomore Ben Wiggins (Cambridge, Mass.) was denied by Colin Bessey after a great feed from sophomore Mike Longo (Morristown, N.J.) on a two-on-one break.

            The Panthers looked to make it a 3-0 game early in the third period, but sophomore Darric White (Fairfield, Conn.) was stopped on a breakaway by Bessey. Middlebury sophomore Tom Freyre (New Canaan, Conn.) scored the first of his career at the 12:34 mark, redirecting a pass in the slot from Brown.

            Middlebury put the game out of reach early in the third with a pair of goals in 2:00. Beslisle made a pass from behind the net to White in the slot, who potted his first of the year. Senior Michael Griffin (Hingham, Mass.) scored with a backhanded roof shot down low just 49 seconds later, making it a 5-0 game. Drolet carried the puck through the zone before making the feed to Griffin for his second of the season.

            Senior goalie John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.) made 16 saves in goal to pick up his fourth career shutout. Bessey was pulled after Middlebury’s fifth goal, earning 22 saves on the night in 42 minutes of action. John Bienkowski finished with 10 stops in 18 minutes.
• Men’s Hockey record: 5-3-2
• Up next: 1/6 vs. Wesleyan – 7:00, 1/7 vs. Trinity – 4:00