Second-ranked Middlebury scored five second period goals on its way to a 7-1 win over Tufts in a NESCAC quarterfinal match-up. The Panthers will host Hamilton in the semifinals next Saturday (3/6) at 1:00 p.m., while Trinity meets Colby in the other semifinal at 4:00 p.m. The title game is slated for Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
A power play goal from Brian Phinney gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at the 12:45 mark of the first period. Tufts answered with its own power play as Ken Cleary scored from the slot to knot the game at one after the first period. The Panther offense exploded in the second period as they scored five goals in a 10:18 span. Evgeny Saidchev started the run at 7:36 with a nice crossing pass from John Dawson for the power play tally. The captain then struck for two goals of his own just 1:58 apart to make it a 4-1 game. Eric Johnson scored from the high slot with a shot through the five-hole at 16:18, while Jeff Smith snapped one in off the pipe at 17:54 to cap the five-goal run. John Sales scored the only goal of the third period to wrap up the 7-1 win.
Middlebury out shot Tufts 54-14 on the night, as Ben Crapser was just one save shy of tying the NESCAC Tournament record of 48 saves in a game. Marc Scheuer made 13 saves in net for Middlebury, while Jim Christman saw his first action of the season, making no saves in 2:16.