Jamie McKenna scored with just 3:06 left in the game to give Middlebury a 2-1 win over Amherst College in a NESCAC semifinal game at Colby College's Alfond Rink on Saturday.
Middlebury, which has won seven of the eight NESCAC titles since the conference started a playoff format in 2000, will take on sixth-seeded Trinity (a 2-1 winner over Colby) in the title game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Colby. Middlebury beat Trinity in the 2002 and 2004 championship games, but lost its only championship to the Bantams in 2003.
After a turnover near the blue line by fourth-seeded Amherst (14-9-3), McKenna blasted home a point-blank shot for his eighth goal with assists from Justin Gaines and Mickey Gilchrist, who notched his 14th assist of the season.
The Lord Jeffs had tied the game at 1-1 at 9:14 of the third period when Kyle Schoppel came around the net on a stuff shot and poked home a second effort for his 15th goal of the season.
Middlebury (18-6-2), the second seed, opened the scoring at 9:13 of the first period when Mason Graddock got his fourth goal of the year off a feed from Charlie Townsend.
Ross Cherry stopped 22 shots to move his record to 11-3-2 this season for the Panthers, while Jonathan LaRose made 36 saves for Amherst.
Middlebury 2, Amherst 1
Midd: Mason Graddock (Charlie Townsend), 9:13 3rd period
Amherst: Kyle Schoppel (Keith Nelson), 9:14
Midd: Jamie McKenna (Justin Gaines, Mickey Gilchrist), 16:54
Shots: Middlebury 38, Amherst 23.
Goalies: Jonathan LaRose (Amherst, 59:20, 2 GA, 36 saves); Ross Cherry (Middlebury, 60:00, 1 GA, 22 saves).