The Middlebury College men's hockey team will make its sixth consecutive appearance in the NESCAC Tournament this weekend in Hartford, Connecticut. For the first time in the history of the tournament, the semifinals and finals will not be held at the Kenyon Arena on the campus of Middlebury College. The games will be hosted by Trinity College and played at the Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, Connecticut. Trinity meets Bowdoin in semifinal #1 on Saturday, March 5th at 1:00 p.m., while Middlebury takes on Colby in game two at 4:00 p.m. The winners meet on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for the title and an automatic bid to the 2005 NCAA Championship tournament.
The Panthers have won four of the five previous tournaments, with Trinity earning the title in '03. Middlebury advanced to the NESCAC semifinals after a 3-0 win over Hamilton last Saturday. The Panthers enter the weekend with an 18-4-3 record, having gone 13-4-2 in NESCAC play. Middlebury is ranked fifth in the latest national poll and seventh in the pairwise power rankings. Trinity (3rd/3rd), Bowdoin (13th/8th) and Colby (17th/14th) are also ranked among the nation's leaders. The Panthers rank second in the nation with a 1.80 goals against average, while their .892 penalty kill is fifth among Division III teams.
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 21 assists and 25 points to go along with his four goals. Gilchrist is the team's leading goal scorer with 18, to go along with his six assists for 24 points with a team-best five power play goals. Captain Brian Phinney (7-13-20) is next among the leaders, followed by John Sales (10-9-19), Patrick Nugent (8-11-19), Darwin Hunt (8-10-18) and Justin Gaines (5-12-17).
In goal, Ross Cherry has been between the pipes of late, sporting a 5-1-2 record with a 1.99 GAA and a .926 save percentage. Yen-I Chen sports a 12-3-1 record with a 1.61 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
2005 NESCAC Men's Hockey Tournament
Quarterfinals, Saturday, February 26th
#1 Trinity 9, #8 Tufts 2
#2 Middlebury 4, #7 Hamilton 3
#3 Colby 7, #6 Williams 0
#4 Bowdoin 6, #5 Amherst 4
Semifinals, Saturday, March 5th - Trinity College
#1 Trinity (20-2-2) vs. #4 Bowdoin (16-5-3) - 1:00 p.m.
#2 Middlebury (18-4-3) vs. #3 Colby (15-7-2) - 4:00 p.m.
Championship, Sunday, March 6th - 1:00 p.m.