The Middlebury men's hockey team dropped a 3-1 decision at Wesleyan (10-5-4, 6-4-3) during NESCAC play on Friday evening. The Panthers (4-13-2, 2-9-2) return to the ice on Saturday at #5 Trinity for a 4:00 p.m. faceoff.
Following a scoreless first period in which both teams managed eight shots on goal, the Cardinals recorded the first 10 shots on the second stanza. Wesleyan opened the scoring as part of a 4-on-3 situation, working the puck around the zone to Sean Ross. He ripped a one-timer from just inside the right circle for the goal at 10:12 for his fourth goal of the season.
Wesleyan doubled its lead while just over four minutes later while skating 4-on-4. Matthew Zandi lifted a wrister over Middlebury goalie Stephen Klein from the left side, following a nifty pass from Tyler Wyatt at the 14:27 mark. The Cardinals outshot the Panthers in the period by a 21-1 count.
In the third period, Middlebury cut the lead in half when Kamil Tkaczuk won a battle for the puck along the end boards. He worked his way back toward the goal, centering a pass to Brett Dineen, who lifted a wrister over the right shoulder of Cardinal goalie Tim Sestak with eight minutes expired. The tally was Dineen's first as a Panther. The Cardinals regained their two-goal advantage at the 12:20 mark when Jordan Jancze won a race to a loose puck in the offensive zone, flipping a shot over the right shoulder of Klein for his sixth goal of the season.
The visitors pulled Klein in favor of the extra skater with 4:05 left in the final period, but were unable to draw any closer.
Klein made 33 saves for the Panthers in 52:37 of action, while Brian Ketchabaw stopped all four shots he faced in 3:31 of play. Sestak tallied 16 saves for the Cardinals. The hosts finished with a 40-17 advantage in shots and went 1-6 on the power play, while Middlebury didn't score on its one chance.