The Middlebury men's hockey team improved to 2-0-1 on the season with a 4-3 road win at Tufts (0-3, 0-3) on Friday night. The Panthers return to action on Saturday with a game at Connecticut College.
Robbie Donahoe and Derek Pimentel both finished with a goal and an assist to lead the Panthers, who improved to 2-0-1 overall and in the league. Tufts, led by a goal and an assist from Kyle Gallegos, took its third straight one-goal defeat to start the season.
Middlebury was first on the scoreboard when Evan Neugold snapped one off the post just under five minutes into the game. The Jumbos then took three penalties in a 1:39 span. After Tufts weathered the Middlebury power play for a bit, the Panthers increased the margin to 2-0 on an extra-man goal by Robbie Donohoe at 9:28. Mike Najjar later made it 3-0 with his first collegiate goal at 15:50 and the Panthers looked like they were going to run away with it.
Tufts got a crucial powerplay goal with just 12 seconds remaining in the first period as Tyler Voigt converted a pass from Gallegos making it 3-1 heading into the first intermission. The Panthers had a 21-13 edge in shots for the period, and seven penalties were whistled (five on Tufts).
The Jumbos got an early chance to cut the margin to one in the second with a pair of Middlebury penalties. The Panthers killed the first without giving up a shot. On the second opportunity, Tufts’ James Randaccio rang the crossbar with a shot.
Middlebury was then able to take advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity when Pimentel stuck a shot around Jumbo goalie Ryan Kellenberger at 7:54 of the second for a 4-1 Panther advantage. The visitors negated three penalties in the middle period. After the 34 total shots on net in the first, the action simmered down to 17 in the second (12 by Middlebury).
Tufts made it interesting in the third. They narrowed the margin to 4-2 when Mike Leary picked a Middlebury defenseman at his own blue line, skated in on a break-away and scored his first college goal with a wrist shot into the left corner at 3:25. Then with Kellenberger pulled for an extra skater in the final 93 seconds of play, Gallegos scored with 44 seconds remaining to pull the Jumbos within 4-3. That was as close as they would get.
Middlebury goalie Mike Peters finished with 23 saves as the Panthers outshot Tufts 43-26 overall. Kellenberger made 39 saves in the Tufts goal. The Jumbos took 10 penalties, with Middlebury striking on two of nine power plays. The Jumbos were one for five with an extra man.