Middlebury gave third-ranked Plattsburgh (14-1-2) all it could handle, but the Cardinals emerged with a 4-2 win in Kenyon Arena on Friday night. The Panthers (6-5-2) are back at it tomorrow evening at Norwich, while the Cardinals visit Williams.
Plattsburgh came out strong early, holding a 6-0 shots advantage before the Panthers put one on the board 7:50 into the contest. Middlebury’s John Barr had a good look denied by Mathieu Cadieux with 5:00 left in the first, as the Cardinals countered on the other end. Dillan Fox found Alex Jensen in a two-on-one, but a diving defensive play by Barr broke the play up.
Plattsburgh took a 1-0 lead 17:46 into the period when Anthony Calabrese skated to the top of the zone and wristed a shot past Nick BonDurant for his first of the year. The Cardinals went 0-3 on the power play in the first period, holding a 10-8 shots advantage.
The Cardinals made it a 2-0 game just 16 seconds into the second period with the fifth of the season from Michael Radisa. Michael Cassidy carried the puck down the right wing before centering a pass to Radisa for the quick redirect just outside the crease.
The Panthers got on the board just 2:32 later when Derek Pimentel potted his seventh of the season, scoring on a rebound after a shot from George Ordway had been saved. Middlebury had a great opportunity to tie the game shortly thereafter with several minutes of five-on-three power play time, but the Cardinal defense stood strong. Pimentel had a shot at his second of the period with 2:00 remaining, but missed wide left on a breakaway. The Panthers outshot their opponents 11-7 in the period, but found themselves trailing, 2-1.
Plattsburgh made it a two-goal game 2:35 into the third when Connor Gorman finished in front for his fifth of the year, after a lengthy rush by Rich Botting on the power play. Middlebury answered less than a minute later with the team-leading ninth of the year from Louie Belisle. Connor Frick’s shot was stopped, with Belisle blasting a shot in off the pads of Cadieux from the left side.
The teams each had a failed power play before BonDurant kept the Panthers in the game with some big saves down the stretch in the third. He made a pair on Gorman with 3:00 left and then again on Alex Brenton less than a minute later.
Plattsburgh sealed the game with just over a minute left when Jensen took advantage of a turnover and scored on a breakaway with a nice backhanded move before finding an open five-hole to put his team up, 4-2. The goal was the eighth of the season for Jensen.
Middlebury finished with a slim 30-29 shots advantage in the game, as BonDurant finished with 25 saves. Cadieux made 28 stops to improve to 13-1-2.