With a 3-2 win over Amherst, Middlebury controls its own destiny for home ice in the NESCAC quarterfinals as they prepare to host Hamilton on Sunday. The Panthers (10-10-3, 8-7-2) outshot the Jeffs 33-18 on the night, and will face-off against the Continentals at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. Amherst (13-7-3, 11-4-2) will wrap up its regular season at Williams on Sunday.
Following a scoreless first period, Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 1:20 into the second with a power play goal. Robbie Donahoe found Louis Belisle on the left wing, who wristed a shot into the back of the net for his team-leading 15th of the season.
The Panthers took a 2-0 advantage with another power play goal, this one coming at 9:14 of the second period. Derek Pimentel found Ronald Fishman at the top of the right circle, before he snapped one home for his third of the year and a 2-0 advantage.
Amherst got on the board at the 12:18 mark, taking advantage of a turnover. Chris Roll picked off a pass near the blue line and skated to the top of the slot before scoring with a wrister to the top right corner. The goal was the third of the season for Roll. The Jeffs had a five-on-three advantage late in the period, but were unable to tally the equalizer.
Amherst knotted the game at 2-2 just 1:19 into the third session. After Brian Safstrom’s initial shot was saved, Conor Brown pounced on the rebound and netted his team-leading 10th of the season.
Middlebury nearly regained the lead less than a minute later, but Dave Cunningham made a big save on Belisle, who was breaking in all alone.
The Panthers regained the lead at the 7:02 mark, just 34 seconds after calling a timeout. Belisle carried the puck down the middle before finding Robbie Dobrowski on the right wing. Dobrowski quickly snapped a shot glove-side past Cunningham for the 3-2 advantage on his first of the season.
Middlebury had a pair of unsuccessful power plays later in the period, but did not extend its lead. Down by a goal late, Amherst was unable to pull Cunningham after taking a costly penalty with 1:22 remaining.
Liam Moorfield-Yee was steady all night long, making 16 saves between the pipes to earn the win for the Panthers. Cunningham finished with 30 saves for Amherst.