Mason Graddock scored a goal and added an assist to help lift No. 6 Middlebury past 12th-ranked Norwich, 4-2, Saturday afternoon in an ECAC East-NESCAC Interlock men's ice hockey game at Kreitzberg Arena.
Middlebury (15-4-1, 12-2-1 NESCAC) struck first at 5:58 of the first period as Artie Mittnacht scored his second goal of the season. Mittnacht won a faceoff to the left of Norwich goaltender Ryan Klingensmith, and fired a hard wrist shot that found the top part of the net. The Panthers made it 2-0 later in the first period as Charles Nerbak tallied a power play goal at the 15:33 mark. Mack Cummins started the play when he unleashed a shot from the right point. Cummins' shot was deflected over to Graddock, who slipped a pass in front to Nerbak for his second goal of the year.
Norwich outshot Middlebury 8-6 in the first period, but the Cadets were unable to get anything past Panther goaltender John Yanchek. NU had a couple of good scoring opportunities in the opening stanza, but the Cadets were stymied throughout the period.
Norwich (11-6-3, 9-4-2 ECAC East) got on the scoreboard early in the second period as Nikita Kashirsky ripped a hard shot past Yanchek to make it 2-1 at the 1:15 mark. D.J. Fimiani and Steve Coon picked up assists on the goal, which was Kashirsky's team-leading 13th of the season
Middlebury reclaimed its two-goal lead at the 8:24 mark of the second period when Graddock scored a power play goal. Nerbak and Ken Suchoski were credited with assists on the marker, which was Graddock's eighth of the year. The Panthers extended their lead to 4-1 late in the second stanza when Chaz Svoboda converted on a two-on-one breakaway. Trevor Dodds started the play when he carried the puck into the Norwich zone and put a shot on Klingensmith. Klingensmith was able to save that attempt, but the rebound kicked out to Svoboda, who buried it into the gaping net.
Middlebury held a 13-9 edge in shots in the middle frame, and seemed to control the majority of the play.
Norwich brought the pressure in the third period, outshooting Middlebury 10-6 in the stanza. The Cadets' efforts were rewarded at the 8:16 mark when Eric Tallent scored on the power play. The goal, which came off a rebound from a Kashirsky shot, was the fourth of the season for Tallent.
The Cadets had a handful of promising scoring opportunities down the stretch, but Yanchek stood tall in the Middlebury net to earn the victory. The freshman net minder made 25 saves to improve to 11-1-0 on the season. Klingensmith made just 15 saves on 19 shots in the loss. David Thompson came on after the Panthers' fourth goal and stopped all six shots that he faced.
Norwich went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Middlebury was 2-for-6 on the man advantage.