Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information
MIDDLEBURY — Mitchell Allen scored with 2:29 remaining, lifting the Middlebury Panthers to a 4-3 upset of third-ranked Oswego State in the title game of the Middlebury Holiday Classic on Sunday. The Panthers (3-7-0) return to NESCAC play on Friday when they host Wesleyan at 7:00 p.m., while the Lakers (9-2-1) entertain Skidmore that same night.
Middlebury goalie Stephen Klein was named the tournament’s most valuable player, while teammates Owen Powers and David Belluche were on the all-tournament team. Rounding out the all-tournament selections were Mitchell Herlihey and Max Novick from Oswego State, Sal Nerby from St. Michael’s and Chris Ordoobadi of Neumann.
Both teams got on the scoreboard in the opening minutes of the contest with the visitors striking first. Tyson Bruce worked his way to the high slot and wristed a shot past Klein at the 2:22 mark. The Panthers countered just over two minutes later, as Trevor Turnbull took a short pass from Danny Tighe and elevated a backhand in to knot the score at 1-1.
The Lakers went back in front with 2:07 remaining in the period when David Ferreira scored on a wrap-around bid. Belluche pulled the hosts even with 50.5 seconds showing on the clock, lifting a shot into the top-left corner of the net after Powers won a puck battle in the corner and set up the score.
Neither team scored in the middle stanza, but Klein came up with several key stops to keep the game tied. The Panther stopped Novick’s rising shot on a two-on-one with seven minutes remaining in the period, and later denied Michael Gillispie and Joseph Molinaro on back-to-back bids. Those scoring attempts came in the closing minute when the teams were skating four-on-four.
Middlebury took its first lead of the game at the 6:27 mark of the final frame when Allen stepped into a drop pass from Charlie Lawrence in the slot for his first tally of the season. Oswego State tied the score with 4:43 on the clock when Gillispie made a diving swipe at a rebound on a shot from the point by Tyler Currie for his fourth tally of the year.
Allen netted the game winner moments later, collecting the puck in his own defensive zone and skating through the neutral zone. His initial shot was blocked by a Laker defender, but Allen quickly fired his second attempt past Oswego State goalie Cedric Hansen for a 4-3 advantage. The Lakers pulled Hansen for an extra skater with 50 seconds remaining, but Middlebury’s defense ran out the clock to secure the win.
Klein finished with 34 saves and stopped 65-68 shots in the tournament. Hansen had 15 saves, as the Oswego State held a 37-19 edge in shots. Both teams had had four power plays, with the Lakers the only team to convert.