Middlebury saw its season come to an end as the fourth-seeded Panthers fell 6-3 to fifth-seeded Bowdoin (15-8-3) in a NESCAC Quarterfinal contest in Kenyon Arena. The Polar Bears will make their fifth-consecutive trip to the NESCAC semifinals with the win, earning their first post-season victory at Middlebury since 1993. The Panthers end their season with an 11-11-3 mark.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 13:42 into the game with the 11th power play goal of the season from Louis Belisle. Ben Wiggins passed to Robbie Donahoe at the top of the zone, before he found Belisle at the left dot. Belisle scored with a quick wrister to the top corner of the net for his team-leading 18th of the season.
Bowdoin answered less than two minutes later when Colin Downey scored his 20th of the season. Connor Quinn picked the pocket of a Panther defender as the puck went to John McGinnis, who found Downey. He took two quick strides towards the slot before wristing a shot to the top right corner.
The Polar Bears took the lead with a power play 1:03 later at the 16:27 mark. McGinnis found Quinn behind the net, who quickly stuffed in a shot on the short side for his 12th of the year.
Middlebury opened the second period with 42 seconds of five-on-three hockey, taking advantage just 23 ticks in. Belisle and Ronald Fishman passed the puck back and forth across the top of the zone before Belisle ripped one past Max Fenkell for his team-leading 19th of the year. Unfortunately for the Panthers, that would be their one and only shot of the period as they were out shot 12-1.
Bowdoin regained the lead at the 4:43 mark, as nice fore-checking by Harry Matheson earned him the puck behind the Panther net. He quickly found Kyle Lockwood in front for his fourth of the year.
The lead grew to 4-2 10:56 into the second when Joseph Lace scored his third of the year from the top of the zone, after an attempt from the right point by Brendan Conroy was blocked.
Bowdoin took a 5-2 lead when McGuinnes carried the puck into the zone before dropping a pass to Downey at the top of the zone. Downey ripped a slapper into the back of the net for his team-leading 21st of the year, this one coming on the power play goal.
Nick BonDurant came in to play in net for the Panthers in the third period, keeping them in the game with some big saves, including flashing the glove on Danny Palumbo at 3:45.
Middlebury made it a two-goal game at the 5:37 mark with the fifth of the season from George Ordway. Jake Charles played the puck along the right boards before centering it to Ordway, who scored with a wrister from the top of the slot.
BonDurant again came up big midway through the period, stopping McGinnis and Lockwood in a three-on-one situation. The Panthers had a shot to make it a one-goal game midway through the period, but were unable to capitalize on a power play.
Bowdoin gained some breathing room 13:08 into the period, taking a 6-3 lead on the fourth of the year from Lockwood. Matheson carried the puck up the ice before losing the handle in the high slot. Lockwood picked up the puck skating backwards and then quickly found the back of the net.
Bowdoin finished the game with a 32-20 shots advantage. Liam Moorfield-Yee played the first two periods of the game, making 18 saves while allowing five goals. BonDurant made eight stops in the third period for the Panthers. Fenkell stopped 17 shots for Bowdoin, including 11 in the third period.