Senior Brian Phinney's goal with 12:35 left in regulation helped lift seventh-ranked Middlebury past Saint Michael's College, 4-1, in ECAC East/NESCAC men's ice hockey contest.
For the Panthers, rookies Jed McDonald, Mickey Gilchrist and Justin Gaines tallied goals, with McDonald and Gaines also earning an assist apiece. Classmate Ross Cherry turned back 34 shots as Middlebury (16-4-3, 12-4-2 NESCAC) improves to 9-0-1 all-time versus Saint Michael's.
Neither team could light the lamp in a scoreless first period. Saint Michael's outshot Middlebury, 12-10, in the frame, and both sides killed off three power play opportunities. The Panthers had the best chance to score in the opening stanza, but couldn't convert a 5-on-3 power play lasting 1:16.
Middlebury opened the scoring 10:34 into the second period, as McDonald took advantage of the Panthers' sixth and final power play opportunity of the contest and notched his fifth goal of the season. Two minutes later, Saint Michael's appeared to score the equalizer, by the goal was waved off because of a high-sticking call on Watts. Another goal by the Purple Knights was disallowed four minutes later, as the goal cage was dislodged just before senior Chris Zimmermann's shot crossed the line.
Seven minutes into the third period, Saint Michael's capitalized on its eight power play chance to even the score. After the Panthers failed to clear the puck, Girouard wristed a shot to Cherry's right for his 12th goal of the season, and team-leading seventh power play marker. Middlebury, however, took the lead for good just 17 seconds later, with Phinney recording his fifth goal of the season, and first game-winner. Middlebury added a key insurance goal with 9:51 remaining, as Gilchrist roofed a shot for his team-leading 15th score, and sealed the win with 1:23 to play on Gaines' unassisted shorthanded tally.
(courtesy St. Michael's)