February 14, 2011

            The Panther men’s hockey team won for the seventh time in its last 10 games (7-1-2) as the Panthers (11-6-5) picked up a 2-1 win over Babson (9-11) in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers are in a three-way tie for first place in the NESCAC standings (Hamilton/Williams), with just one week remaining in the regular season.

         Babson opened the scoring just 1:21 into the game with a power play goal, as Jay Haseley scored with a quick wrister from the right face-off circle. Middlebury tied the game at 4:11, when rookie Louis Belisle (Repentigny, Que.) scored his third goal in two days converting a centering pass from senior Ken Suchoski (Bear Creek Township, Pa).

            Middlebury junior netminder John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.) kept it a 1-1 game for the Panthers in the second, with a pair of nice saves on Mike Hoban and P.T. Donato at the 4:30 mark. The game-winner came just a few minutes later, with a power play goal at 6:54. Suchoski and Belisle connected again, this time with Suchoski tipping in the shot for the 2-1 lead.

         The Middlebury defense held strong for the remainder of the second period as well as the third, on its way to the victory.

         Yanchek finished the game with 18 saves to earn the win, while Zeke Testa made 28 stops.

         Middlebury scored three first period goals and never looked back on its way to a 4-1 win over UMass.-Boston (14-8) on Friday night in Kenyon Arena.

            Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 6:05 into the game when senior Chaz Svoboda (Verdun, Que.) circled the net before finding junior Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) who netted his team-leading 11th of the year. Belisle stole the puck and scored from the slot at the 12:30 mark to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. First-year player Michael Longo (Morristown, N.J.) made it a 3-0 game with 2:39 left, snapping in a shot from the left wing.

            Midway through the second period, Belisle tipped in a shot from rookie Ben Wiggins (Cambridge, Mass.) on the power play for his second of the night and sixth of the year.

         UMB got on the board just 1:51 into the third period on the power play, with a goal from the left face-off circle by Travis Daniel.

         Yanchek finished with 19 saves to earn the win, while Kevin Bendel made 32 stops for the Beacons.

         Middlebury outshot Williams 41-18 but had to settle for a 3-3 tie in NESCAC men’s hockey action Tuesday night in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers, who played their sixth overtime game of the season, remain unbeaten against the Ephs in their last 21 match-ups.

            Middlebury scored the only goal of the first period, finding the back of the net in a four-on-four situation with 30 seconds remaining. Junior Martin Drolet’s (Montreal, Quebec) shot from the right side was saved by Ryan Purdy, with sophomore Chris Steele (Revere, Mass.) scoring on the rebound for his second of the year. The period ended with the Panthers holding a 16-4 shots advantage.

         Middlebury started the second period with 4:30 remaining on a major penalty, but were unable to capitalize. Williams tied the game with a short-handed tally midway through the period at 9:27. Ben Contini made a nice drop pass to Eric Rubino in transition, as he finished from the slot for his ninth of the year. The Ephs took the lead at 14:29 when Stephen Maier found Contini, who scored from the right face-off circle, earning his ninth of the season. Middlebury had a five-on-three power play late in the period, but could not tie the game.

         The Panthers tied the game at the 11:09 mark of the second period with a five-on-three tally. Sophomore Mathieu Castonguay (St. Edouard, Que.) found junior Charles Nerbak (Martinsville, N.J.), who scored his fifth of the year from the left point. Middlebury took a 3-2 lead just 2:18 later with a transition goal. Junior Tom Cantwell (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) carried the puck in on the right wing, making a crossing pass to Wiggins who was denied with a great save from Purdy (38 saves). Belisle was there, netting his fourth of the season on the rebound.

         Mark Lyons hit the pipe for Williams at 14:30, with the Ephs knotting the game just 1:20 later with a power play goal. After a blocked shot, the puck came free to Mike Brofft, who scored from the blue line for his second of the year. Middlebury took a penalty on the goal leaving the Ephs with a power play at the 15:50 mark. The Panthers killed the power play and then fought off a late flurry by the Ephs to send the game into a scoreless overtime.
• Men’s hockey record: 11-6-5
• Up next: 2/18 vs. Skidmore – 7:00, 2/19 vs. Castleton – 4:00