Visiting Middlebury earned a sweep of its NESCAC weekend by hanging on for a 5-4 victory at Tufts in conference men's hockey action at Valley Forum II on Saturday afternoon. Louis Belisle and Brendan McGovern all scored a goal and an assist for the Panthers, who had defeated Connecticut College 4-1 on Friday night. Middlebury moves up to fourth place with the win and is now 8-8-2 overall and 7-3-2 in the league.
Trailing 4-1 and 5-2 in the third period, the Jumbos scored three power-play goals in the final stanza to pull within 5-4. Dylan Plimmer and Stewart Bell both finished with two goals and an assist for the Jumbos, who are now 5-10-2 and 1-9-2 NESCAC.
Tufts struck first when Bell scored from the left face-off circle on a soft shot that slipped past screened Middlebury goalie Dan Fullam at 10:34. Middlebury evened it at 1-1 on the game's best goal as McGovern drove into the zone down the right side and cut towards the net to score short-handed with just 18 seconds left in the period.
Ben Wiggins was in the right spot to convert a rebound off an original save by Jumbo goalie Brian Phillips 2:59 into the second period for a 2-1 Middlebury margin. The Panthers would extend the advantage to 3-1 on a power-play strike by Terrance Goguen at 16:07 of the second.
Middlebury looked to be pulling away at 4-1 after Mike Longo was on the doorstep to score at 4:24 of the third. However, Bell netted his second of the game and eighth of the season on a power-play after intercepting a pass in the Middlebury zone and scoring on an off-balanced shot at 7:49. The Panthers would regain the three-goal margin though on Belisle's ninth of the year at 12:26.
Near the five-minute mark late in the third, a pair of Middlebury penalties which included a five-minute major would prove to be costly. Plimmer scored on a two-man advantage making it 5-3 with 3:47 remaining in regulation. Forty-nine seconds later, he scored again and it was a 5-4 game with 2:58 on the clock.
Middlebury played the remainder of the period short-handed, including down two men after Phillips was pulled with a minute remaining. The Panthers were able to stymie the Jumbos and record the win.
Four Panthers players scored multiple points, including three assists from Robbie Donahoe. Fullam earned his second win with 27 saves.
Sophomore Andrew White added three assists to the Tufts attack. Phillips finished with 34 saves, including 14 in the second period. Middlebury had a 39-31 advantage in shots for the game.
The Jumbos finish their non-league schedule against Suffolk on the road Tuesday at 7:30. Middlebury next hosts Wesleyan on Friday at 7:00.