Middlebury out shot Hamilton 47-21 on its way to a 3-1 win over the Continentals in a NESCAC semifinal match-up at the Kenyon Arena. The Panthers will take on Trinity, who defeat Colby 4-2 in the other semifinal. The championship game is set for Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Kevin Cooper opened the scoring at 4:43 as Andrew Helming skated up the ice on the left wing before finding Cooper with a crossing pass for the one-timer. Cooper almost made it 2-0 just 30 seconds later, but his breakaway attempt was stopped by Rob MacNeil. The Panthers had some great chances with 3:00 to go in the period, but two shots by John Dawson and one by Adam Foote were turned away with great saves by MacNeil. The first period ended with a 21-5 shots advantage for Middlebury.
In the second period, MacNeil continued his stellar play, denying foote on a point-blank opportunity at the 1:30 mark. His counterpart, Marc Scheuer, was equal to the task with a great save on Jeff Corey at the 4:00 mark of the second period. The Panthers were able to solve MacNeil for the second time at 8:44 to take a 2-0 lead. Cooper fed the puck to Phinney, who's shot from the left side was tipped into the net down low by Helming.
Cooper made it a 3-0 game 7:41 into the third period as he broke in all alone and scored through the five-hole of MacNeil. Hamilton broke onto the board at 13:46 of the third period when Casey Deak pounced on a rebound and scored from the slot after a shot from Josh Benson was saved.
Scheuer made 20 saves in goal for Middlebury, while MacNeil made 44 stops for Hamilton.