Middlebury's Drew Goulart scored 4:26 into the second overtime, as the fifth-seeded Panthers (12-5) slipped past third-seeded Bowdoin 1-0 Saturday in a NESCAC Semifinal at Tufts. Middlebury advances to the conference championship Sunday at noon, where it will face top-seeded and fourth-ranked Tufts with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The teams played a very defensive-minded opening half with Bowdoin (10-4-3) getting a good chance 13 minutes into the contest. Levi Morant lofted a long service into the Panther penalty area, but CJ Materson's touch went just wide of the left post. The Polar Bears recorded the only shot on goal in the opening frame minutes later on an attempt by Matty McCall, but Middlebury goalie Jeremy Yeager denied the bid.
The Panthers had a set piece two minutes before the half with Goulart taking a free kick from the right side. His offering sailed into the penalty area where Polar Bear goalie Stevie Van Siclen punched it from harm's way, keeping the game scoreless at the half.
The second half was a mirror image of the first with only one shot on goal for either team. Goulart directed the lone attempt on frame midway through the stanza with Van Siclen making the save. The Polar Bears did have two quality chances in the final 15 minutes of regulation, as Max McPherron volleyed a ball just past the left post and later redirected a cross over the net.
Midway through the first 10-minute overtime, Bowdoin's Moctar Liang had a good opportunity on a header, but Yeager corralled the attempt sending the teams to another extra session.
The game-winning goal came just less than five minutes into the second overtime, as Goulart created space along the left side and ripped a shot into the upper third of the net from 25 yards out. It was his team-leading fifth goal of the season and his third game-winner.
Yeager made one save for his NESCAC-leading 10th shutout, including his third straight. He also tied Eric Davis '10 and Andy Cornish '87 for third on the list for single-season list for shutouts. Van Siclen had one save as the Polar Bears had a slim 8-7 edge in shots.
The Panthers have won both conference tournament games this year in overtime and are 3-0 in extra time this fall.