December 5, 2011

            The Middlebury College men’s hockey team improved to 4-0 in NESCAC play with a pair of road wins last week. Senior Martin Drolet (Montreal, Que.) scored the game-winning goal 5:21 into the third period as 11th ranked Middlebury remained undefeated in NESCAC with a 3-2 hockey victory at Tufts on Saturday afternoon at Valley Forum II.

            Visiting Middlebury controlled most of a scoreless, penalty-free first period. They earned a 19-8 advantage in shots during the first 20 minutes, with Barchard and Panther senior goalie John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.) both on their game early.

            The Jumbos evened play in the second period, but Middlebury got on the scoreboard first. Sophomore Ben Wiggins (Cambridge, Mass.) finished off a two-on-one with his second goal of the year at 4:07. The Jumbos tied it at 9:32 when a tricky bounce left Yanchek out of position and sophomore Garrett Sider scored his second of the season.

            With a Tufts penalty 20 seconds from expiring later in the period, Middlebury senior Tucker Donahoe (Canton, Mass.) capitalized with a power-play goal at 12:39. However, just 32 seconds later, Tufts sophomore Cody Armstrong one-timed a shot that found its way through a crowd into the net for a 2-2 tie. Both teams had good scoring chances in the final minutes of the period, but it remained a 2-2 game heading into the third.

            In the third, Jumbo senior goalie Scott Barchard was screened on Drolet's goal that had assists from juniors Mathieu Castonguay (St. Edouard, Que.) and Brett Brazier (Okemos, Mich.).

            Middlebury killed two Tufts power-plays while holding on to their 3-2 lead in the third. Yanchek had one of his better saves of the afternoon on a shot off a two-on-one by Jumbo senior Matt Amico.

            With Barchard out of the net, the Panthers flirted with disaster in the game's final seconds when they were unable to convert a wide-open empty-net attempt. Tufts turned around and stormed the Panther net, resulting in a flurry of activity in front of Yanchek that came up empty for the Jumbos.

            Middlebury finished with a 44-32 advantage in shots, as Yanchek made 30 saves. Drolet also had an assist in the game. Jumbo sophomore defenseman David Carson assisted on both of his team's goals, while Barchard made 41 saves in the game.

            On Friday, the team picked up a 4-0 road win at Connecticut College.  The Panthers scored twice on the power play, once shorthanded and also in a four-on-four situation in the game.

            All four goals came in the second period, with senior Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) finding Drolet in the slot for a one-timer on the power play 48 seconds into the second period.

            Strauss struck for a goal of his own at 11:29, scoring a shorthanded tally in transition after a feed from sophomore Louis Belisle (Repentigny, Que.).

            The lead grew to 3-0 at 13:47 of the second period, when Belisle scored on the power play with assists from sophomore Mike Longo (Morristown, N.J.) and sophomore Robbie Donahoe (Canton, Mass.).

            The game’s final goal came two minutes later, with Belisle converting a breakaway with a helper from Donahoe in a four-on-four situation.

            Middlebury held the Camels scoreless in the third period, as Yanchek made 13 saves in goal to earn his third career shutout. Mike Petchonka made 28 saves on 32 shots for Connecticut College.
• Men’s Hockey record: 4-1-1
• Up next: 12/9 @ Hamilton, 12/10 @ Amherst