Middlebury clinched home ice as far as they go in the NESCAC Tournament after a 5-2 win over Hamilton in the Kenyon Arena. The Panthers wrap up their regular season when they host Amherst on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
Hamilton took a 1-0 lead 14:52 into the first period as John Gordon skated in from the right side and snapped a shot into the far corner for a power play goal. The Continentals made it a 2-0 game just 1:04 later as Gus Katsuras took a nice long feed from Erik Kallio and then wrapped a shot around Ross Cherry for a shorthanded goal. Middlebury answered with a power play goal with just 29 seconds left in the period. Jamie McKenna put home his own rebound after a shot from the left point by Jack Kinder was saved.
Hamilton held the lead until the 14:53 mark of the second period when the Panthers struck for a pair of goals in 42 seconds. Evgeny Saidachev scored the first with a rocket to the top right corner as he skated across the blue line to the left wing. Mickey Gilchrist gave the Panthers a 3-2 lead at 15:35 as he made a great fake on Hamilton netminder Gabe Tash, before scoring from just outside the crease.
The third period started off fast-paced as McKenna snapped a shot off the right post before Cherry made a huge save on Andrew Decristoforo on the other end of the ice. The score remained at 3-2 until Jeff Smith put home a rebound from the slot to give Middlebury some breathing room with 2:21 remaining. Scott Bartlett sealed the game with an empty-netter at 19:28.
Cherry ended the night with 17 saves to earn the win, while Tash made 27 stops for the Continentals.
Date: February 17, 2006 - 7:00 p.m
Venue: Kenyon Arena - Site: Middlebury, Vt.
TEAM 1 2 3 OT F
Hamilton (10-11-2) 2 0 0 - 2
Middlebury (19-2-2) 1 2 2 - 5
H-1st (14:52) - PP: John Gordon (Gabe Tash)
H-1st (15:56) - SH: Gus Katsuras (Erik Kallio)
M-1st (19:31) - PP: Jamie McKenna (Jack Kinder, Robert MacIntyre)
M-2nd (14:53) - Evgeny Saidachev
M-2nd (15:35) - Mickey Gilchrist (Leonard Badeau, McKenna)
M-3rd (17:39) - Jeff Smith (Gilchrist, McKenna)
M-3rd (19:28) - Scott Bartlett (Badeau)
Ross Cherry-M (60 min., 17 saves, 2 GA)
Gabe Tash-H (58:46 min., 27 saves, 4 GA)