#15 Wesleyan Holds Off Middlebury

Jimmy McKee fired three shots on goal against the Cardinals.
Jimmy McKee fired three shots on goal against the Cardinals.

Wesleyan scored once in the first and third periods, as the Cardinals remained unbeaten in NESCAC play with a 2-0 win over host Middlebury on Friday. The Panthers (8-9-2, 5-6-2) are home on Saturday with a 4:00 p.m. contest against 13th-ranked Trinity, while 15th-ranked Wesleyan (13-4-2, 11-0-2) heads to Williams at 3:00 p.m.

The visitors opened the scoring at the 7:52 mark of the first period, as Walker Harris showed good patience coming out from behind the cage and sliding a shot into the net for his team-leading 14th tally of the season. Wesleyan made a bid to double the lead with 2:42 remaining in the period when Tyler Levine redirected a centering pass from Tyler Wyatt, but Middlebury goalie Brian Ketchabaw quickly got the left post for the glove save.

The hosts pressed late in the frame, as Mitchell Allen got a stab at a pass from Owen Powers at the top of the crease that Cardinal goalie Tim Sestak smothered. With 40 seconds on the clock, Conor Breen fired a snap shot off the post, keeping the difference at a goal at the first intermission.

In the middle stanza, Wesleyan had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:31 in the opening minutes with Ketchabaw coming up big. The Panther made three saves on the two-man disadvantage and recorded a fourth once a player came back on the ice. The hosts had a power play with 14:11 on the clock and recorded several chances. Jimmy McKee blasted a slap shot from the point that Sestak turned away, while Cole Joslin was denied on his bid from the slot. Middlebury had another opportunitylate in the frame, when McKee pushed the puck between the circles, where Emack Bentley swept a backhander just wide of the left post.

In the final period, the visitors had quality chance with just over a minute expired when Spencer Fox tipped a shot by Matthew Zandi that Ketchabaw corralled. The Panthers countered with an opportunity minutes later on a rush by Matt Danner off a nice stretch pass from Spencer Cage. Danner fired a shot from the slot that Sestak snared with his trapper.

Vincent Lima gave the Cardinals a 2-0 cushion at the 11:42 mark, as he skated into the slot and tucked a shot into the upper-left corner of the net.

Middlebury pulled Ketchabaw for an extra attacker twice in the closing minutes, but Sestak made four stops in that time, making the final score at 2-0.

Ketchabaw finished with 24 saves, while Sestak stopped all 31 he faced with Middlebury holding a 31-26 edge in shots. Middlebury muted all three Cardinal power plays and came up empty in its only advantage.