Despite two Middlebury goals in the third period, the Panther men’s hockey team fell to Norwich by a 5-2 tally in the 147th meeting between the two rivals on Saturday night at Kreitzberg Arena. Norwich (12-3-2) got goals from five different players in the victory as Middlebury leads the all-time series 80-59-8. The Panthers (6-6-2) return to the ice for a road game next Friday, January 24 against Bowdoin.
Norwich dominated the opening 20 minutes of the game outshooting the visitors by a 17-1 count.
Shane Gorman opened the scoring 5:25 into the game with an unassisted goal for his eighth tally of the season to put Norwich up 1-0. Chris Duszynski had a puck knocked away by a Middlebury defender that bounced right to Gorman who wristed a shot over the glove of Middlebury starting goalie Nick BonDurant from the high slot.
Erik Lyrvall added to the lead later in the first period when he took a shot from the point that redirected off a few bodies in front of the net and fluttered into the top right corner of the net to make it 2-0 Norwich.
Duszynski made it 3-0 Norwich at the 12:01 mark of the second period with his team-leading 14th goal of the season off assists from Travis Janke and Gorman picked up assists on the goal. William Pelletier added a backbreaker with 12 seconds left in the period with a bullet of a wrist shot that beat BonDurant low stick side to make it 4-0 Norwich.
Dean Niezgoda made it 5-0 just 2:21 into the third period, sniping a shot short side that beat Middlebury’s relief goalie Drew Michals, who started the third period in net.
Middlebury broke up Norwich starting goalie Chris Czarnota’s shutout bid at the 11:09 mark of the third when Zach Haggerty scored on a wide open net on a 5-on-4 power play off feeds from Terrance Goguen and Evan Neugold.
The Panthers cut it to 5-2 at the 18:04 mark when Louis Belisle added another power play tally off assists from Ben Wiggins and Max Greenwald. Belisle scooped up a loose puck on the doorstep of the crease and beat Czarnota five-hole with traffic in front to cap the scoring.
Czarnota made 18 saves to improve to 2-0-0 on the season. BonDurant (2-4-0) made 24 saves, including a couple of highlight reel stops in the first period that kept Middlebury in the game. Michals played the final period allowing one goal and recording seven stops.