Middlebury’s streak of 11 straight trips to the NESCAC Championship game has come to an end, after Colby topped the Panthers 2-1 in a quarterfinal game in Kenyon Arena. Third-seeded Middlebury ends its season with an 11-8-6 record, while sixth-seeded Colby improves to 12-10-2.
Colby jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 3:52 into the first period with the fourth of the season by Dan Nelson. Billy Crinnion’s shot from the right wing was stopped with a pad save from John Yanchek, before Nelson pounced on the rebound with an open net. Louis Belisle had a pair of nice looks for the Panthers at the 15:30 mark, but both were denied by Cody McKinney.
The Mules doubled their lead 6:33 into the second period, when Karl Burns scored his sixth of the year from the high slot, redirecting a centering pass from Chris Buonomo. Nick BonDurant came on in relief of Yanchek (26:33, 2 GA, 10 saves) following the tally. McKinney stopped Brett Brazier in transition at the 11:00 mark, followed by a pair of saves by BonDurant on Jack Bartlett from point-blank range. McKinney came up big again with 7:00 minutes remaining, stopping Brazier with a big glove save. The second period ended with Middlebury leading 23-16 in shots, but trailing 2-0.
Middlebury came on strong in the third, with Chris Brown breaking in all alone before he was unable to get off a shot. The Panthers went on the power play at 5:10, with Chaz Svoboda scoring his third of the year at 6:24 to make it a 2-1 game. Mathieu Castonguay’s shot from the point was saved by McKinney, with Svoboda scoring on his second attempt for the goal.
Middlebury pulled BonDurant (11 saves) for the game’s final 1:38, earning five shots on goal, but could not sneak one past McKinney (37 saves) to tie the game. The Panthers finished the contest with a 38-23 shots advantage.