Middlebury scored four third period goals on its way to a 5-2 win over New England College in the NCAA semifinals in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers will take on St. Thomas, a 4-1 winner over Trinity, in the NCAA Championship on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.
New England College jumped on the board at 4:02 as Rashaun Ewing found Greg Tam just inside the blue line after a face-off. Tam snapped a wrister high into the right corner of the net to give the Pilgrims a 1-0 lead. N.E.C. had a chance to make it 2-0 at 7:04, but Ross Cherry robbed Ewing with a glove save from close range. Later in the power play, the Panthers were threatening, but were denied by Scott Gray after a flurry of shots during a man advantage. Middlebury tied the game at 16:54 as Shady Young poked home a loose puck in the crease after a scramble in front.
N.E.C. regained the lead at 11:51 of the second period with some nice puck movement for a power play goal. Nick Fouts found Mike Carmody on the right side, before he threw a centering pass to Robin Bjorkman, who snapped one home from the high slot.
Middlebury tied the game just 2:36 into the third period as Jocko DeCarolis scored on a rebound after a Tim Graham shot was saved by Gray. Patrick Nugent had a chance to give the Panthers the lead 2:24 later, but his wrister hit the top pipe. Gray again stopped Nugent with a big glove save moments later, before denying Darwin Hunt's shot from close range. The Panthers kept coming with pressure, and finally broke through at 10:15 as Brett Shirreffs ripped home a shot from the left point to give the Panthers their first lead of the game. Mickey Gilchrist gave the Panthers a 4-2 lead at 13:16 as he scored from the high slot after a nice feed from behind the net by Nugent. Middlebury held N.E.C. without a shot for the first 17:00 of the third period, out shooting the Pilgrims 9-0 in that time span. DeCarolis would add his second goal of the period with an empty-netter at 18:57 to seal the win.
Cherry ended the night with 16 saves in goal for the win, while Gray made 25 stops for N.E.C.