Men’s Hockey: Panthers Edge Amherst 3-2

Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information

AMHERST,MA — Middlebury scored three times in a span of 1:31 in the second period, sparking the Panthers to a 3-2 NESCAC road triumph at Amherst on Friday. Middlebury (5-2-0, 4-1-0), winners of four-straight conference contests, is right back in action on Saturday, playing at Hamilton at 3:00 p.m.

The Mammoths (2-4-1, 1-3-0) jumped out to an early lead, getting on the scoreboard with 5:24 expired. Mitchell Shults had his shot from the left side hit off a Panther defender, but Christian Powers collected the rebound in the left circle and potted his second tally of the season. Middlebury had a great chance three minutes later when Brendan Dawson snuck in the from the left point and was thwarted by Mammoth goalie Giancarlo Ventre, who went post-to-post to deny the bid. Ventre later made two key saves on a late Panther power play, as the hosts carried a one-goal lead into the first intermission.

Middlebury muted three Amherst power plays in the opening seven minutes of the second stanza and used that momentum to spark the offense. The first of the three-goal run started with a tally in front by Matt Danner. Just 33 seconds later, Zach Shapiro tipped in a shot from the point by Bret Pastor for his team-leading fifth goal of the season, while Owen Powers capped the burst off a scramble in front of the Mammoth net with 10:41 on the clock for a 3-1 lead.

Amherst had a chance to get one of the scores back in the latter stages of the middle period, but Sean Wrenn’s shot from the left wing on an odd-man rush grazed the pipe.

In the final 20 minutes, the Panther penalty-killing unit came up huge again in the early going, erasing 39 seconds of 5×3 play. In the final five minutes, the hosts struck while shorthanded when Shults carried the puck into the Middlebury zone and tallied from the left circle to make it a 3-2 game with 4:28 remaining.

Amherst pulled Ventre with just over a minute on the clock for an extra attacker, but the Panthers limited the Mammoths to only one shot to secure the one-goal victory.

Middlebury goalie Brian Ketchabaw was solid with 23 saves on 25 shots, while Ventre stopped 31-34 for the Mammoths.

Middlebury held a 34-25 edge in shots, while both teams came up empty with the man advantage. The Panthers wiped out seven Amherst power plays and had five opportunities of their own.