The Middlebury men's hockey team ended its regular season with a 7-3 win at in-state foe Castleton. The Panthers finish the regular season 16-4-4, 12-3-4 in NESCAC play, good for second place overall in the league standings with 28 points. Bowdoin clinched the top seed in the tourney with 29 points. Middlebury returns to action next Saturday when they host seventh-seeded Tufts in a NESCAC Quarterfinal match-up at 4:00 p.m. The Spartans fall to 9-11-5 overall and 7-9-3 ECAC East.
In the first period, Middlebury cracked the scoreboard first on the power play at 9:03. Charlie Strauss received a no-look centering pass from teammate Chaz Svoboda and Strauss finished on the one-timer exchange for his fifth goal of the season past Castleton goaltender Arthur Hollinger for a 1-0 lead.
The Spartans answered back late in the period with a power play goal of their own at 14:07. Josh Harris received a feed from Kirk Bolduc just in front of the left circle and snapped a wrist shot through John Yanchek's five-hole for his ninth goal of the season (seventh power play) to tie the game at 1-1.
The Panthers wasted little time in the second period regaining the lead at 2:06. Just 25 seconds into the man advantage, Sullivan notched his 10th goal of the season past Hollinger for a 2-1 lead. Charlie Townsend and Tom Clayton were credited with assists.
The back-and-forth action continued as Castleton evened the score at 11:05 on the power play thanks in large part to Hollinger. The rookie goaltender negated a 2-on-1 Middlebury shorthanded scoring chance robbing Martin Drolet's point-blank bid giving the Spartans a 3-on-2 rush up ice.
After the save, Schoeneberger gained possession of the loose puck and caromed a pass up ice to Harris off of the bench side boards sending Castleton on the break. Harris corralled the feed from Schoeneberger and zipped a pass to Bolduc in the slot for his eighth goal of the season.
Middlebury responded quickly, however, scoring three-consecutive goals over the next 4:47 of play to put the Spartans away.
Townsend found the back of the net at 14:44 for his 11th goal of the season. Jak Knelman tallied his second goal of the season at 18:47 and Sullivan buried his second goal of the evening whistling a wrister over Hollinger's blocker to cap the Panthers three-goal spurt.
In the third, Castleton cut into the deficit at 14:19 to make it 5-3 with its third power play goal. Dan Bell beat Yanchek at the doorstep with a backhander for his third goal of the season.
The Spartans momentum only lasted for a minute and 18 seconds as Resor erased Castleton's spark beating Hollinger with a snapshot for his 11th of the season for a 6-3 lead. Resor added cushion room for Middlebury at 17:19 scoring his second goal of the game. Yanchek made 36 saves, while Hollinger stopped 23 shots.