Men’s Hockey: Panthers and Purple Knights Score Big Late Season Wins

Courtesy Middlebury and St. Michael’s Sports Information Offices

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MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury’s Owen Powers scored with just 23 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Panthers past Amherst 3-2 on Friday evening in Kenyon Arena. With the victory, Middlebury snaps the Mammoths (9-10-4, 7-7-3) 10-game unbeaten streak and are in a three-way tie for fourth-place heading into the final game of the regular-season. The Panthers (9-11-3, 7-7-3) host Hamilton at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, while Amherst travels to Williams on the same day for a 3:00 p.m. start.

Middlebury wasted little time getting on the board, scoring just 2:03 into the opening period. Paddy Mangan fired a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that trickled through traffic for his first-career tally. Amherst looked for a power play tally with 5:56 expired, but Sean Wrenn’s attempt from the slot was denied by netminder Jake Horoho. The Mammoths had their best opportunity of the stanza during a shorthanded situation, but Mitchell Shults’ chance was thwarted with a glove save by Horoho with 13:32 showing on the clock.

Out of the intermission, Middlebury looked to double its lead at the 4:53 mark. Brendan Dawson sent a long pass from the defensive zone up to an unmarked Cole Joslin, but Joslin’s one-on-one attempt was thwarted by goaltender Giancarlo Ventre. Amherst knotted the game 1-1 at the 11:30 mark. Greg McGunigle sent a pass from the red line to McGunigle in the high slot, before McGunigle found the back of the net. The Panthers had a great opportunity to take the lead with 12:56 expired in the second, but back-to-back shots from Joslin and Mitchell Allen were thwarted by Ventre.

Midway through the third, Matt Danner grabbed the puck out of the air in transition, before feeding a pass to Allen in the slot. Allen worked the puck around an Amherst defender before his shot eluded Mammoth goalie Ventre for the 2-1 edge at the 11:35 mark. The visitors answered with 16:50 expired when Joey Lupo sent a pass from behind the goal to Wrenn who one-timed it in the slot to make it 2-2.

Both teams had chances to end the game in the first two minutes of the extra session with the game-winner coming with just 23 seconds left on the clock. An initial bid from point-blank by Antoine Belisle was denied by Ventre, but Powers dove across the crease and swept the rebound into the net while lying on the ice for the 3-2 final.

Horoho made 25 saves in 64:24, while Ventre stopped 35 shots for Amherst. Middlebury held an advantage in shots (38-27) and faceoffs (39-17) during the victory.

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Down a goal in the final seven minutes, the Saint Michael’s College men’s ice hockey team scored three times in a 4:08 span to defeat Stonehill College, 4-2, and nail down the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Northeast-10 Conference Championship on Friday night in Cairns Arena.

The Purple Knights extended their winning streak to five games while snapping the Skyhawks’ winning streak at four contests. With tomorrow’s Senior Day game against Stonehill still remaining, Saint Michael’s has ensured itself a home semifinal game next Saturday against an opponent still to be determined.

· Saint Michael’s (15-8-2, 11-5-1 NE10), Stonehill (11-11-4, 8-6-3 NE10)

· Junior Thomas Flack (Toronto, Ontario/Saint Michael’s Buzzers), 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 blocks, 16-for-19 faceoffs
· Junior Ethan Hendrickson (Budd Lake, N.J./New Jersey Rockets), 1 goal, 1 assist
· Junior Sel Narby (Huntington, N.Y./Connecticut Junior Rangers), 2 assists
· Junior Paul McAuliffe (Newton, Mass./Kimball Union Academy), 1 goal
· Senior Tim Decker (Liverpool, N.Y./Canterbury School), 34 saves
· Junior Niall Foster (Newmarket, N.H./Walpole Express), 11-for-16 faceoffs
· Senior William Santangeli (Oakville, Ontario/Saint Mark’s School), 6-for-10 faceoffs

· Senior Cameron Wright, 1 goal
· Sophomore Mike Seoane, 1 goal
· Senior Matthew Schoen, 24 saves

· Saint Michael’s clinched the No. 2 seed in the NE10 Championship, which begins with a home semifinal next Saturday against an opponent to be determined.
· The Purple Knights extended their winning streak to five games – their longest since the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons – while snapping Stonehill’s streak at four contests. The Skyhawks had won five consecutive NE10 games since a 3-5-3 league start.
· Three of the Purple and Gold’s five wins in its current streak have been comeback victories.
· Saint Michael’s was outshot 36-28 but held a 41-20 advantage in faceoff wins.
· Decker moved into a tie for third in program history in career wins (27) with Bill Heney ’92 while passing Dave Donzanti ’15 (1,366) for eighth in saves (1,374). Decker’s 12 wins this year tie Bob Chancio ’98 (1996-97) for third in program history, with the most since Nick Dion ’99 had 15 in 1998-99.
· After going winless in their last three games with Stonehill (0-2-1), netting six goals in those outings, the Purple Knights scored four tonight.
· The teams combined for one goal in the opening two periods before scoring five times in a 16:13 span of the third period. Saint Michael’s had last scored four goals in the third period when it had five versus these same Skyhawks on Dec. 4, 2018, also at Cairns Arena.
· Saint Michael’s had last played on Feb. 8.

· Wright was denied from the left circle by Decker’s blocker 1:25 into the opening stanza before Purple Knight senior Hadan Jordan (Colorado Springs, Colo./Boston Bandits) had a shot above the left circle stopped by Schoen’s left skate with 7:55 gone.
· Decker made a handful of big stops down the stretch, denying sophomore Owen Schiffmann’s bid out front with his blocker at 11:22 and posting a pad stop of first-year Teddy McElaney’s shot from the low left circle at 12:28. The netminder turned away junior Sean Conley’s slap shot from the blue line at 14:25 before smothering senior Jack Scannell’s put-back bid at the left post.
· Senior Zachary Frament’s power-play slapper above the left circle was denied by Decker’s paddle at 16:10, and the goalie stopped Wright’s shorthanded breakaway bid with his blocker at 18:58.
· The Purple Knights’ best chance down the stretch came on a slap shot from junior Cameron Stewart (Sabattus, Maine/East Coast Wizards), whose drive from the left circle at 18:32 was covered by Schoen.
· Narby ripped a slap shot off of Schoen’s helmet from up close during a power play 28 seconds into the second period.
· Decker kept it knotted by making seven saves in a little more than three minutes shortly thereafter, including stopping senior Connor Jewett with his toe on a rebound at 2:20, denying Jewett’s bid through traffic 16 seconds later and repelling first-year Brendan Nehmer’s point-blank one-timer at 3:50.
· Stonehill broke through at 5:34, with Wright tipping home senior Michael Seibold’s pass from the left circle.
· Junior Paul Cerdà (Puigcerdà, Catalunya/Buffalo State) tried waiting out Schoen with a couple moves out front during a rush at 9:27 but had a bid saved, and Decker kept it 1-0 by saving Nehmer’s one-timer from the left circle during a 3-on-2 rush with 12:07 gone.
· First-year Jeremy Routh (Hamden, Conn./New Hampshire Junior Monarchs) had a wrist shot during a power play turned away at 16:26 before Schoen twice denied Routh bids up close in the final 10 seconds on another man advantage.
· Flack knotted the game 1:27 into the third period. Narby began the play with a stretch pass to Hendrickson, who passed from the left circle into the slot for Flack, who gathered and went glove side.
· Seoane tipped home senior Zachary Frament’s slap pass through Decker’s five-hole during a power play to give Stonehill a 2-1 lead with 12:06 remaining, setting up a frenzied finish.
· A little more than a minute later, Flack won a faceoff into the left corner, where Stewart dished out for Hendrickson, who picked the space above Schoen’s right shoulder from the left circle just 1:26 after the Skyhawks had tied the game.
· The visitors went on the power play less than a minute later, but two Skyhawk penalties within 27 seconds negated the man advantage and put Saint Michael’s on a 5-on-3 power play. During that opportunity, junior Andrew Olevitz (Winthrop, Mass./Northern Cyclones) sent a cross-ice pass into the right circle for McAuliffe, who buried the eventual game-winner at 17:11.
· Just 29 seconds later, and with his team still a man up, Flack ripped a shot from the slot off the left post and in to push the lead to 4-2, capping a stretch of three Purple Knight goals in a matter of 4:08.
· Stonehill went on a power play at 18:05 and pulled Schoen for an extra attacker for the final 1:19 to make it 6-on-4, but Decker denied the only shot sent his way, turning away sophomore Charles Page with 13.5 seconds left following a scramble out front.

· Saturday vs. Stonehill, 4 p.m.
· The Purple Knights celebrate Senior Day on Saturday with a postgame ceremony.