Middlebury won its eighth NCAA Championship in the last 12 years as they picked up a 3-0 win over St. Norbert at First Arena in Elmira, N.Y. The NCAA crown is the third consecutive title for the Panthers, who move to 31-5-2 all-time in NCAA play and 8-0 in title games. Middlebury's last four NCAA titles have come via the shutout (a streak of 265:57), with five overall shutouts in championship game play. The national championship is the 26th for Middlebury College in the last 12 years. St. Norbert ends its season with a 25-5-2 mark.
The game was fast-paced early on, with Middlebury's Doug Raeder making a save on hard shot from Jeff Hazelwood just 42 seconds into the game.
The Panthers opened the scoring just 1:36 into the game with a power play goal from Robert MacIntyre, his third goal of the season. Mickey Gilchrist took a shot from the high slot that was saved by Kyle Jones, the rebound came to MacIntyre on the left side as he buried the shot.
Evgeny Saidachev had a pair of chances to increase the lead at the three and five-minute marks, but Jones was equal to the task.
The Golden Knights had another chance as Kurtis Peterson's shot from the right side was saved by Raeder before the puck fell into the crease and was cleared by Middlebury defenseman Jeff Smith at the seven-minute mark. Andy Cote broke in with some room in transition just 1:20 later, but his shot to the middle of Raeder's chest was saved.
St. Norbert had a pair of power plays at the 11:31 and 14:04 marks, but was able to muster few opportunities. The first period ended with the Green Knights holding an 11-10 shots advantage.
Gilchrist had a chance to give Middlebury a 2-0 lead four minutes into the second period, but his backhander was saved after a few nifty moves in the low slot. John Sales made it a 2-0 game at 7:15 as he scored shortly after a power play had expired. Darwin Hunt came from behind the net to hit Sales who was sitting on the doorstep. Sales quickly snapped a hard shot to the top right corner that nipped the far post.
Sales almost struck for his second of the period at the 13-minute mark, but his shot that developed from a two-on-one in transition, was stopped by Jones. St. Norbert went on the power play for the final 1:26 of the second period, but could not find the back of the net. The Panthers held a 7-3 shots advantage in the period.
St. Norbert had three chances to score in the first four minutes of the third period. The first two were saved by Rader, with Leonard Badeau clearing a puck out of the crease as Ryan Petersen was attempting to poke it in the net. The Panthers answered just a minute later with a good scoring opportunity, but Scott Bartlett's rocket was snapped out of the air by Jones.
A power play at 5:28 failed for the Green Knights, while Peterson was denied by Raeder at 7:49. The Middlebury defense hung tough midway through the period, not allowing many shots on goal. The Panthers had a pair of power plays in the final five minutes of the game, but could not convert. Middlebury finally gained some breathing room with 45 seconds remaining as Gilchrist scored on an open net from just inside the blue line to make it a 3-0 final. The win was the second championship win over St. Norbert, with the Panthers earning a 1-0 overtime win at Norwich in '04.
Raeder ended the game with 22 saves to pick up his second shutout of the season, while Jones ended the day with 18 saves.
Date: March 19, 2006 - 2:00 p.m.
Venue: First Arena - Site: Elmira, N.Y.
TEAM 1 2 3 OT F
St. Norbert (25-5-2) 0 0 0 - 0
Middlebury (26-2-2) 1 1 1 - 3
M-1st (1:36) - PP: Robert MacIntyre (Mickey Gilchrist, Tom Maldonado)
M-2nd (7:15) - John Sales (Darwin Hunt, Eric LaFreniere)
M-3rd (19:15) - EN: Gilchrist (Jamie McKenna, MacIntyre)
Doug Raeder-M (60 min., 22 saves, 0 GA)
Kyle Jones-S (59:55 min., 18 saves, 2 GA)