The Middlebury College men's hockey team will make its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this weekend when they host Curry. The game will take place on Saturday, March 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Kenyon Arena.
The Panthers enter the game with a 25-5-2 record in NCAA, the most wins of any team in the tournament's history. Middlebury won the title from '95-'99 and again last season for a total of six NCAA crowns. The Panthers fell in the quarterfinals in '00, and '01 and the semifinals '02 and '03, before regaining the title in '04. Middlebury has an impressive 254-37-13 (.857) record over the past 11 seasons, with head coach Bill Beaney sporting a 353-103-22 (.762) record in his 18th season at the helm of the program.
The defending NCAA Champions earned their bid to the tournament by capturing their fifth NESCAC Championship in six years, with a 3-2 win over Bowdoin. The Panthers enter the weekend with a 20-4-3 overall record, after going 13-4-2 in NESCAC play. Middlebury is ranked fourth in the latest national poll and fifth in the PairWise power rankings. The Middlebury defense ranks second nationally, allowing 1.78 goals/game, while the penalty kill is fifth at .885.
A pair of rookies lead the team in scoring this season, Tom Maldonado and Mickey Gilchrist. Maldonado is a defender who leads the team with 24 assists and 28 points to go along with his four goals. Gilchrist is the team's leading goal scorer with 19, to go along with his seven assists for 26 points, tying for the team-lead with five power play goals. Captain Brian Phinney (9-14-23) is next among the leaders, tied for the team-lead with five power play tallies, followed by Patrick Nugent (9-12-21), John Sales (11-9-20), Darwin Hunt (8-10-18) and Justin Gaines (5-12-17).
In goal, Ross Cherry has been between the pipes of late, sporting a 7-1-2 record with a 1.89 GAA and a .935 save percentage. His save percentage is third among the nation's leaders, while his GAA is fourth. Yen-I Chen sports a 12-3-1 record with a 1.61 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
Curry makes its second NCAA Tournament appearance, entering the tourney with a 19-5-3 record after going 14-0-1 in ECAC Northeast play. The Colonels earned their bid after defeating UMass.-Dartmouth 6-1 in the ECAC Northeast Championship game on Saturday. Curry is ranked 14th in the latest national poll and 18th in the PairWise power rankings. The Colonel's offense leads the nation, scoring 6.37 goals/game, while the defense is fifth, allowing 2.22 goals/contest. Their special teams have been solid as well, with the penalty kill at .915 (2nd nationally) and the power play clicking at .885 (3rd nationally).
Leading the team in scoring this season have been Brian Doherty (15-41-56), Michael O'Sullivan (17-20-37), Sean Pero (15-21-36) and Bret Adams (14-22-36). Doherty's 1.52 assists/game are tops nationally, while his 2.07 points/contest place him third. In goal, Lenny Mosca is 10-4-2 with a 2.17 GAA (10th) and a .913 save percentage.
2005 NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament
First-Round, Wednesday, March 9th
St. Thomas (17-5-5) @ St. John's (23-2-2)
Quarterfinals, Saturday, March 12th
St. Thomas/St. John's winner @ St. Norbert (24-2-3)
Trinity (20-3-2) @ Geneseo (18-6-4) - 7:00 p.m.
Curry (19-5-3) @ Middlebury (20-4-3) - 7:00 p.m.
N.E.C. (17-11) @ Manhattanville (21-3-1) - 7:00 p.m.
Semifinals, Friday, March 18th - TBA on 3/13
St. Thomas/St. John's/St. Norbert winner vs. Trinity/Geneseo winner
Curry/Middlebury winner vs. N.E.C./Manhattanville winner
Saturday, March 19th
NCAA Championship - 7:00 p.m.