Middlebury Upends #11 Amherst On Late Goal

Middlebury goalie Charles Midgley made a career-high 24 saves in Saturday's win at #11 Amherst.
Middlebury goalie Charles Midgley made a career-high 24 saves in Saturday's win at #11 Amherst.

Middlebury goalie Charles Midgley made a career-high 24 saves, propelling the Panthers to an 11-10 upset of 11th-ranked Amherst in the NESCAC Quarterfinals Saturday in Massachusetts. Middlebury (8-8), the tournament's sixth seed, advances to next weekend's semifinals at top-seeded Bates, while Amherst (12-4) saw its five-game winning streak snapped. Middlebury will face the Bobcats at 12:00 p.m., while the other semifinal has second-seeded Wesleyan taking on fifth-seeded Tufts at 3:00 p.m.

The game got off to a fast start with the teams combining for three goals in a span of 21 seconds. Danny Jacobs gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with a man-up tally, while Peyton Lane scored for Amherst 11 seconds later. Jacobs netted his second of the contest a mere 10 seconds after that, putting Middlebury in front 2-1. The Mammoths scored the next two goals, jumping ahead by one, but the Panthers pulled even on a tally by Matthew O'Neal as the teams were tied at the end of the first quarter.

Amherst took advantage of a man-up opportunity with 3:31 left in the second stanza for a 4-3 lead, but Middlebury's Chase Goree knotted the score with 59 seconds left in the half. Evan Wolf gave the Mammoths a 5-4 lead at the break, scoring with one second on the clock.

In the third quarter, Brogan Mahon and Brett Inglesby each scored in the first three minutes, extending the lead to 7-4. The Panthers stormed back with three-straight goals to tie the game at 7-7. Jacobs started the run with a man-up tally, while Parker Lawlor pulled Middlebury to within a one with 7:11 on the clock. A.J. Kucinski added a goal in the late stages of the quarter as the teams entered the final 15 minutes deadlocked at 7-7.

The teams alternated goals to start the fourth quarter and were eventually being tied at 10-10. Wolf opened the scoring for Amherst, while Middlebury's Henry Riehl sandwiched goals around one by Jimmy McAfee. Wolf put the hosts back in front again, before Riehl ripped a high shot from the right shot on a man-up situation with 8:24 left. Kucinski stopped the stretch where the teams traded goals, giving the Panthers their first lead (11-10) since the first quarter with an assist from Riehl.

The Mammoths tied the game at 11-11, as Chris Albanese tallied in transition with 3:42 remaining. Amherst won the ensuing face off, but the Panther defense forced a turnover, giving the ball back to its offense. Jacobs took advantage, whipping a shot from 12 yards out for his fourth goal of the game with 1:41 remaining.

Midgley sealed the victory with three saves in the final 36 seconds as the Panthers eliminated the third seed of the tournament. Cory Tranbarger took the loss in goal for Amherst, registering 12 saves

Jacobs led all players with four goals and added an assist, while Riehl had three goals and one helper. Riehl's three goals gave him an even 50 for the season. Kucinski chipped in with two goals and an assist. Jack DeFrino led the Panthers with five ground balls, while Jake Madnick went 9-19 on face offs and caused a pair of turnovers.

Wolf had a big game for the Mammoths with three goals and four assists, while Albanese scored twice. Dylan Finazzo won 16-26 face offs and scooped up a game-high nine ground balls.

The Mammoths held a 49-43 advantage in shots and 42-28 in ground balls. Middlebury was a perfect 3-3 on man-up opportunities and Amherst scored on its only attempt.

The Panthers are now 7-0 all-time against Amherst in NESCAC Tournament play, avenging a 20-11 setback to the Mammoths back on April 1.