Middlebury scored four third-period goals on its way to a 5-2 win over Hamilton in the regular-season finale on senior day. The Panthers (11-10-3, 9-7-2) have secured the fourth seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament and will host fifth-seeded Bowdoin on Saturday, March 1st at 4:00 p.m. in a quarterfinal contest. All six seniors who played in the contest for Middlebury earned at least one point in the game. The Continentals end their season with a 5-15-3 mark, 4-12-2 in NESCAC play.
Hamilton’s best shot to score in the period came just 45 seconds in, but Michael DiMare was unable to get a shot off breaking toward the goal.
The Panthers struck first 4:06 into the game with the second of the year from Tom Freyre. Robbie Donahoe’s shot from the left side was saved, with Freyre scoring from the slot with a blind backhanded shot.
Middlebury had a pair of unsuccessful power plays later in the period, while Evan Neugold was denied by Joe Quattrocchi late in the period. The Panthers ended the first 20 minutes with a 13-3 advantage in shots.
The Panthers looked to add to their lead early in the second period, but Neugold’s shot rang the pipe. Quattrochhi later made a big glove save on Freyre as Middlebury put the pressure on for the first three minutes of the period.
Hamilton got on the board at the 4:52 mark, when Pat Curtis netted his ninth of the year. After taking a pass from Evan Haney, Curtis ripped a shot from the left wing that deflected into the net off the glove of Panther netminder Liam Moorfield-Yee.
The Continentals went on top 5:05 later with a power play goal from Brad Smelstor, his second goal of the season. Dom Jancaterino found Smelstor at the top of the zone, as his slapper found the top right corner of the net for the 2-1 advantage. Middlebury outshot Hamilton 15-9, but found themselves outscored 2-0 in the period.
Middlebury tied the game at the 3:05 mark of the third period, when Louis Belisle scored with a shot from just inside the blue line past a screened Quattrocchi. Hamilton nearly regained the lead on the power play 6:42 into the period, but Kenny Matheson’s shot from the right point hit the post.
The Continentals nearly tied the game on the power play at 9:07, but Moorfield-Yee made a big glove save on Robbie Murden.
The Panthers went on top at the 11:52 mark when Belisle’s shot from the left side deflected in off a defender for his team-leading 17th of the season.
Hamilton went on the power play 12:04 into the third, but then took two penalties of their own just 33 seconds later. Middlebury capitalized at the 13:58 mark with their first power play goal of the game. Ronald Fishman found John Barr, who scored his second of the year on his own rebound to make it a 4-2 game.
Michael Longo netted his fifth of the season on an empty net with 38 seconds remaining, working a give-and-go play with Robbie Dobrowski.
Middlebury doubled up Hamilton in shots, finishing with a 42-21 advantage. Moorfield-Yee made 19 saves in goal to earn the win, while Quattrocchi made 37 stops for Hamilton.