November 28, 2011

            Elmira became the first team other than Middlebury, Plattsburgh and Norwich since 2002 to advance to the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout finals. The #10 Soaring Eagles did so by scoring three goals in a 1:42 span on their way to a 3-2 victory over #11 Middlebury. Elmira went on to fall at the hands of Norwich in the title game.

         Middlebury nearly took a 1-0 lead just 1:23 into the game, but senior Martin Drolet (Montreal, Que.) was robbed by a diving glove save from Elmira’s Darren McDonald. Junior Chris Brown (Quincy, Mass.) of Middlebury had a good look in the sixth minute, but hit the pipe.

         Elmira’s three goal run began at the 6:37 mark, with Brendan Sanders scoring from the near post after an initial shot was saved. Martin Lee scored his first of the season 42 seconds later, tipping in a shot from the right point by Brock Sawyer. The third tally came just 53 seconds later, with Wes Consorti making a nice saucer pass to Regan McClean for his first of the year at the 8:12 mark.

            Middlebury got on the board at the 14:58 mark, with junior Brett Brazier (Okemos, Mich.) scoring his first of the season. Senior Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) carried the puck towards the goal, with his pass being redirected into the back of the net.

         The Panthers made it a one goal game just 1:57 into the second period with a power play goal. Brown’s shot from the left point was saved, before Strauss pounced on the rebound and scored.

         Middlebury had a five-on-three power play for 41 seconds in the third, and later went on a shortened power play at the 11:28 mark, but could not score.

            Elmira had a great chance for a two-goal lead later in the period, but Middlebury senior goaltender John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.) came up huge on John Clewlow in a two-on-one to keep it a 3-2 game. The Panthers pulled Yanchek in the final 1:10 of the game, but could not score the equalizer.

         Middlebury held a 32-22 advantage in shots, including a 13-4 margin in the third period. Yanchek finished with 19 saves, while Darren McDonald made 29 stops to earn the win.

         Middlebury and Plattsburgh battled to a scoreless tie in the consolation game of the tourney. Sixth-ranked Plattsburgh moves to 5-2-1 on the season, while 11th-ranked Middlebury goes to 2-1-1. The game was the first scoreless tie played in Kenyon Arena since a 0-0 game with Bowdoin on February 7, 2008.

         The first period ended with few shots, but several of them high quality chances for Middlebury. Drolet hit the pipe with a backhander on the power play at the 5:00 mark, before Panther sophomore netminder Nick BonDurant (Macedon, N.Y.) stopped Mark Constantine breaking in on a Cardinal power play 2:30 later.

         Strauss had a quality shot stopped by a glove save from Josh Leis later in the period. The Panthers hit another pipe at the 11:40 mark, with sophomore Louis Belisle (Repentingny, Que.) finding iron after a nice feed from junior Trevor Pollock (Sunderland, Vt.).

         Neither team had any great chances to score in the second period, with the Panthers holding a 16-9 advantage in shots after 40 minutes.

         Plattsburgh went on the power play at the 13:29 mark of the third, mustering a couple shots on goal. The Cardinals best chance of the period came as time was winding down, as Vick Schlueter broke in all alone and was stopped by BonDurant.

         In overtime, a Drolet blast hit the helmet of Leis at the 2:57 mark, before BonDurant made a big stop on Nick Jensen with 41 seconds remaining. Drolet had another chance with time winding down, but Leis made the glove save.

         BonDurant finished the game with 19 saves to earn his first career shutout, while Leis made 26 stops for the Cardinals.
• Men’s Hockey record: 2-1-1
• Up next: 12/2 @ Conn., 12/3 @ Tufts