Goaltender John Yanchek made a season-high 31 saves to lead the Middlebury to a 4-2 road victory over fifth-ranked Bowdoin on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers deal Bowdoin its first home loss of the season and improve to 8-5-3 (6-4-2 NESCAC) while the Polar Bears fall to 13-4-0 (9-4-0 NESCAC) with the loss. Middlebury improves to 7-1-3 in its last 11 games.
Martin Drolet scored the game-winning goal and added an assist for the Panthers while Kyle Shearer-Hardy tallied a goal and an assist for the Polar Bears.
The teams played an entertaining first period with the squads trading excellent chances. The Panthers’ best opportunity came five minutes in, when Louise Belisle came loose behind the Bowdoin defense but rang a wrister off the right post. Bowdoin answered moments later when Jeff Fanning broke behind the Middlebury defenders only to have Yanchek smother the chance. Yanchek made another point-blank stop later in the frame on Bowdoin’s Kyle Hanson and finished with 13 stops in the period to keep the game scoreless.
The Panthers took the lead on a bizarre sequence early in the second period. After a flurry of action in the Bowdoin zone, a delayed penalty was called on the Polar Bears and Middlebury’s Tom Cantwell rifled a shot through traffic and into the cage at 1:29. Bowdoin evened the score just two minutes later, when Harry Matheson slipped a shot inside the right post on a rush down ice at 3:31. The Panthers regained the lead following a Bowdoin penalty midway through the frame when Darric White received a feed at the blue line and rifled a shot that beat Richard Nerland blocker-side at 7:05.
Bowdoin gained a 5x3 late in the period and converted on a one-timer by Kyle Shearer-Hardy from Ollie Koo to tie the game at two but, as the penalty was about to expire, Middlebury scored its first shorthanded goal of the season as Martin Drolet slapped home a shot from the right face-off circle to give the Panthers the lead again at 16:09. Charlie Strauss knocked home a rebound off a Martin Drolet shot just 2:12 into the third period to give the Panthers the game’s first two-goal lead at 4-2. Middlebury survived five third-period penalties to claim the win.
Nerland made 29 saves in the loss for Bowdoin.