Tom Maldonado scored a power play goal from the top of the zone with two minutes left in the game to lead Middlebury to a 2-1 win over Elmira in the NCAA semifinals. The two-time defending NCAA champions will look for their eighth title in 12 years on Sunday when they take on St. Norbert at 2:00 p.m. The title game will take place at First Arena in Elmira, N.Y. and will be televised live on CSTV.
The first period saw each team have a few scoring chances, with Middlebury holding a 10-9 shots advantage at the end of the session. The Panthers had two power plays in the period, but proved to be ineffective.
Elmira had its first power play of the game at the 1:35 mark of the second period, but did not score. Shortly after the power play expired, the Soaring Eagles went on their second power play of the game at the 2:40 mark. This time Elmira converted as Mark Mazzetti tipped in a shot from the low slot that was sent in by Tyler Cann from the blue line. Middlebury was whistled for its third penalty in the first 5:14 of the period as Elmira went on the man-advantage for another two minutes. Doug Raeder, making his first start since a February 11th loss to Babson, made a pair of nice saves on the power play to keep it a 1-0 game. Raeder came up huge once again at 11:25 as he stopped Andrew Bedford on a breakaway.
Middlebury tied the game at 14:42 as they scored just two seconds after a power play had expired. John Sales took a feed from Brett Shirreffs at the top of the left face-off circle before wristing a shot on goal. The shot was blocked, with Sales gathering the rebound and snapping it into the top right corner of the net. A late penalty gave the Panthers a power play to start the third period.
Middlebury couldn't convert a pair of power plays early on in the period, leaving the game at 1-1. Elmira had a five-on-three advantage for 30 seconds at 12:43, but could not convert. Each team exchanged more power play opportunities, with both goaltenders equal to the task. Middlebury went on the man-advantage with 2:26 left in the game, leading to the game-winner. Elmira had a chance late in the game with a power play for the final 47 seconds, but could not score in the six-on-four advantage with their goaltender pulled.
Raeder ended the night with 26 saves as each team finished with 27 shots. Middlebury ended the night 1/9 on the power play, while Elmira was 1/6.
Date: March 18, 2006 - 4:15 p.m.
Venue: First Arena - Site: Elmira, N.Y.
TEAM 1 2 3 OT F
Elmira (18-3-2) 0 1 0 - 1
Middlebury (25-2-2) 0 1 1 - 2
E-2nd (4:00) - PP: Mark Mazzetti (Tyler Cann, Dave McKenna)
M-2nd (14:42) - John Sales (Brett Shirreffs, Darwin Hunt)
M-3rd (18:00) - PP: Tom Maldonado (Mickey Gilchrist, Robert MacIntyre)
Doug Raeder-M (60 min., 26 saves, 1 GA)
Greg Fargo-E (59:27 min., 25 saves, 2 GA)