The Middlebury College men's hockey team will make its 10th consecutive trip in the NESCAC semifinals as they travel to Amherst this weekend. The Panthers will take on Williams at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, while the host school meets Trinity at 7:30 p.m. The winners meet for the NESCAC Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
The Panthers have a 23-2 (.920) record in NESCAC Tournament play, advancing to the title game each year, with seven championships. Middlebury started off the season with six straight wins, including capturing the '08 PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout. The Panthers went into a bit of a skid to start the new year, going 2-2-1 in their first five games of '09. Middlebury went 8-2 over its next 10 games, before finishing the regular season with two losses in three games. Last weekend, Middlebury earned a 6-2 win over Hamilton in Kenyon Arena to advance to the NESCAC Championship weekend. The Panthers are currently ranked eighth in the latest Division III national poll.
The Middlebury offense leads the NESCAC this season with 4.52 goals/game, while the defense is third with 2.52 goals allowed/contest. The power play has been strong and is second in the league at .250, while the penalty kill has struggled, ranked ninth at .786.
Jamie McKenna (14-22-36) leads the team and the NESCAC in scoring with 1.57 points/game this season, while Martin Drolet (19-14-33) paces the league and team with .76 goals/game. John Sullivan (15-14-29), Ken Suchoski (7-19-26), Charlie Strauss (12-11-23) and Chaz Svoboda (7-15-22) round out the team's leading scorers. McKenna ranks second in the NESCAC in assists (.96), Suchoski is fourth (.76), while Sullivan is fourth in goals (.60). Doug Raeder is 6-5-1 in goal with a 2.43 GAA and a .892 SV%, while John Yanchek is 12-1 with a 2.56 GAA and a .900 SV%.
2009 NESCAC MEN'S ICE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
Quarterfinals, Saturday, February 28th at Higher Seeds
#1 Amherst 4, #8 Tufts 1
#2 Middlebury 6, #7 Hamilton 2
#3 Williams 3, #6 Bowdoin 2 (OT)
#4 Trinity 3, #5 Conn. College 1
Semifinals - Friday, March 6th - Amherst College
Williams (15-8-2) vs. Middlebury (18-6-1) - 4:00 p.m.
Trinity (16-8) vs. Amherst (19-4-1) - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 7th - Amherst College
NESCAC Championship - 7:30