January 10, 2011

         The Panther men’s hockey team extended its unbeaten streak to five games with a 2-0-2 start to the new year. Middlebury scored twice in each period on its way to a 6-3 win over Skidmore on New Year’s Day in Kenyon Arena.

            Middlebury took a 1-0 lead at 4:26, when rookie J.D. Vermette (Boucherville, Que.) finished off his own rebound after his initial shot was saved by Andrew Ross. The lead doubled at 6:38 with junior Jak Knelman (Edina, Minn.) tipping in a shot from sophomore Mathieu Dubuc (Blainville, Que.).

            Skidmore got on the board at the 13:32 mark, with Dave Dupuis stopping quickly and then wristing a shot through the five-hole of junior goaltender John Yanchek (Hillsborough, N.J.). The Thoroughbreds tied the game with just 21 seconds left in the period, when Vlad Gavrik redirected a pass from Tyler Doremus.

            Middlebury took a 3-2 advantage 15:57 into the second period with a power play goal. Senior Ken Suchoski (Bear Creek Township, Pa.) made a pass towards the goal to Dubuc, who quickly turned and scored his first of the season. Junior Martin Drolet (Montreal, Quebec) wristed a shot high into the net from the right face-off circle at 18:09, taking a feed from Dubuc.

         Leading 5-2, sophomore Trevor Pollock (Sunderland, Vt.) scored his first of the year in a four-on-four situation, scoring from the slot after a failed clearing pass by Ross in the third. The lead increased to 6-2 at 15:35, when Drolet scored with a high shot for the second time. Skidmore answered just 43 seconds later, when Brad Schuler scored from the far side after a shot from the right point by Dalton Weinstein.

         Middlebury ended the night with a 29-17 shots advantage, with Yanchek earning the win with 14 saves. Ross made 18 saves in 49:03, while Colin Bessey made five saves in 10:57.           

         Middlebury outshot Southern Maine 38-22 on the night but had to settle for a 3-3 tie on Tuesday night in Kenyon Arena.

         Southern Maine scored the only goal of the first period on the power play at 7:18. David Nies circled the net and scored on a wrap-around to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. The lead doubled just 3:05 into the second period, when Matt MacDonald took advantage of a turnover on the blue line and scored with a quick high shot from the left side.

         Southern Maine had a couple of great chances to extend the lead to three goals with a pair of breakaways by Dan Rautenberg, but Yanchek (19 saves) was equal to the task.

            The Panthers got on the board at the 12:17 mark of the second period, when junior Tucker Donahoe (Canton, Mass.) took a feed from Drolet and scored with a shot from the left point on the power play. Middlebury scored the equalizer just 2:38 later, when senior Chaz Svoboda (Verdun, Que.) redirected a pass in front from junior Charlie Strauss (Eagle River, Wis.) at the 14:55 mark.

         USM regained the lead 6:30 into the third period with the second of the game from Nies. Zach Joy made a pass from behind the net to Nies at the left point, who found the back of the net. Middlebury came back to tie the game at 15:47, when Donahoe put home his own rebound from the doorstep.

         The Panthers had a couple of quality shots on goal in overtime, but Braely Torris (35 saves) stood his ground.

         Hamilton College and Middlebury College played to a 3-3 tie in a New England Small College Athletic Conference men's ice hockey game at Hamilton's Russell Sage Rink on Jan. 7.

         Drolet scored the game-tying goal on the power play for Middlebury with 6:25 left in the third period when he batted in a loose puck after a shot by the Panthers was knocked down in front of the goal. Drolet was credited with an assist on Middlebury's second goal. Dubuc  also had a goal and an assist for the Panthers.

         The result was just the third tie score in 114 meetings between the two long-time rivals. Middlebury had won the previous eight games with the Continentals dating back to the 2004-05 season. The Panthers tied the University of Southern Maine 3-3 in their last game on Jan. 4.

         Hamilton (5-4-1 overall, 2-2-1 NESCAC) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period on a power-play goal by Andrew White. White flipped a wrist shot from the blue line above the left circle with 1:10 left in the first.

         Middlebury (3-4-2, 1-3-1) got on track in the second period. Dubuc scored into an open net at 8:50 on a rebound after a shot by Knelman was stopped but not controlled by Joe Quattrocchi . Tucker Donahoe made it 2-1 Panthers with 8:00 remaining when he scored on a one-timer in front.

         The Continentals jumped on Middlebury early in the third period. Just 23 seconds into the period, Tom Chiappetta  fired a shot from above the left circle that bounced off the goalie and went to a wide-open Michael DiMare, who deposited the puck for his fifth goal. Hamilton took a 3-2 lead at 6:43. A shot from above the left circle by BJ Lalonde was blocked, but the loose puck caromed to Nick Anderson  in the slot, and his wrist shot found the back of the net for his fifth goal.

         A goal by the Panthers with about 7:30 left in the third was disallowed because the officials ruled that the player that scored received the puck with a hand pass from a teammate.

         Quattrocchi made 37 saves in his first collegiate action for the Continentals. Yanchek  stopped 23 shots. Middlebury held a 3-2 shot advantage in overtime.

         Middlebury snapped Amherst’s six-game unbeaten streak as the Panthers earned a 4-1 NESCAC road win at Orr Rink. The Lord Jeffs drop to 6-3-2 overall and picked up their first conference loss (4-1-1), while Middlebury moves to 4-4-2 (2-3-1).

            Amherst held a 40-32 edge in shots on goal, but could manage to sneak just one score past rookie goalie Nick BonDurant (Macedon, N.Y.) on a power play in the first period. BonDurant made 39 saves in his second win of the season, while Cole Anderson turned away 28 shots in net while in the loss for the Jeffs.

         Amherst started off the game slowly with Middlebury taking a 1-0 lead at 10:58 as junior Michael Griffin (Hingham, Mass.) scored his third goal of the year. The Panthers needed just over two minutes to take a 2-0 lead, with Strauss scoring the eventual game-winner. Off a shot Suchoski, Strauss redirected the puck past Anderson for the score.

         Amherst grabbed one goal back at 16:10 of the first, with Joe Brock scoring his third of the season. Off helpers from Jeremy Deutsch and Luke Arnold, Brock slashed a one-time slap shot to beat BonDurant on the power play.

         The Jeffs out-shot the Panthers 11-5 in the second period, but it was Middlebury who added a goal to its lead at the 5:41 mark. Drolet assisted once again with a slap shot that Dubuc redirected past Anderson, who was stuck using a defensemen’s stick after losing his.

            Amherst pushed hard in the third period to cut into the deficit, but with just 48 seconds to play Middlebury added an empty net goal to seal the result. Knelman scored on assists from first-year player Michael Longo (Morristown, N.J.) and Vermette.
• Men’s hockey record: 4-4-2
• Up next: 1/14 vs. Trinity – 7:00, 1/15 vs. Wesleyan – 3:00