Middlebury grabbed a 7-3 lead early in the third quarter, but a string of 10-unanswered goals by Tufts lifted the sixth-ranked Jumbos to a 13-10 win Saturday on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. Middlebury (8-6, 4-5) closes out the regular-season portion of its schedule on Wednesday at home against Williams at 5:00 p.m., while Tufts (12-1, 8-1) hosts Bowdoin on the same day at 7:00 p.m.
The game got off to a slow start, as each team managed just two scores in the opening quarter. The Panthers got on the board first at the 9:49 mark when Chase Goree collected a rebound and fired a shot into the back of the cage. The Jumbos countered just over a minute later, as Andrew Seiter found the back of the net. Jack Gould made it 2-1 for the hosts with 7:32 left on a low shot from the right. Seiter tallied again for Tufts on a spinning attempt from eight yards away, as the score remained deadlocked at 2-2 after 15 minutes of play.
In the second quarter, Middlebury regained the lead on a bouncing shot from Henry Riehl at 11:02, followed by a wraparound goal by Danny Jacobs at 5:42 for a 4-2 advantage. Ben Connelly cut the Panther lead to one, scoring in transition nearly two minutes later. Jacobs pushed the Middlebury lead back to a pair at the halftime break (5-3), tallying on a spin shot with 57.6 seconds left.
Middlebury came out of the break, scoring the initial two goals for a 7-3 advantage. Goree tallied when he fought through the defense for a bouncing shot with 13:35 showing on the scoreboard and Riehl picked up his second marker of the contest 43 seconds later.
The Jumbos reeled off 10-straight goals, including three man-up tallies, over the next 20:08 of action for a 13-7 lead with 7:44 remaining in the contest. Seiter, Connelly and Garrett Samuelson each had two goals during the run for the visitors.
With a little less than four minutes remaining in the final quarter, Riehl stopped the run for the Panthers on a man-up score from the left, cutting the deficit to 13-8. Riehl scored just 17 seconds later on a nifty feed from Jake Madnick in transition, and also found the back of the net again with 2:01 left on a bouncing attempt to bring the Panthers to within three at 13-10. The Jumbos won the ensuing faceoff and held on for the three-goal victory.
Riehl had a big game for the Panthers with a season-high five goals, extending his goal-scoring streak to 21 games. Goree and Jacobs each scored twice, while Gould had the other Panther goal. A.J. Kucinski paced Middlebury with a pair of assists. Madnick went 19-26 on faceoffs and collected a team-best seven ground balls. Laurence Jackson ended his day with three caused turnovers. In goal for the Panthers, Charles Midgley finished with nine saves.
Seiter led the Jumbos with four goals and an assist, while Connelly tacked on three goals and a helper. Danny Murphy added a score and three assists. Brian Powers had five ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers for Tufts. Mason Pollack made 23 saves in the victory for the Jumbos.
Saturday's setback snapped a five-game winning streak for the Panthers.