Men's Hockey Shuts Out Second-Ranked Norwich

Stephen Klein made 25 saves in goal to earn his first career shutout (Will Costello).
Stephen Klein made 25 saves in goal to earn his first career shutout (Will Costello).

Middlebury knocked off its second top-three nationally-ranked opponent in as many nights, blanking #2 Norwich 3-0 in Kenyon Arena. The win is the first for the Panthers over the Cadets in nine games, dating back to a two-game sweep during the 2008-09 season. Middlebury improves to 6-6-2 overall, while Norwich falls to 14-2-1. On Friday night, the Panthers earned a 3-1 road win at #3 Plattsburgh. Middlebury returns to action next Friday night when it hosts Bowdoin at 7:00 p.m.

Norwich had a good look just 30 seconds into the game, but Dean Niezgoda's shot from down low hit the pipe. Middlebury answered the opportunity and cashed in just 1:08 into the game with the third of the year from George Ordway. Mike Najjar came from behind the net and found Ordway at the left circle for a quick one-timer.

Middlebury looked to make it a 2-0 game at the 8:02 mark, but Evan Neugold was denied breaking in all alone by a great stop from Braeden Ostepchuk (17 saves). Less than a minute later, he made another nice stop on Ronald Fishman to keep it a 1-0 game.

The Panthers increased their lead at the 14:44 mark when Brendan McGovern gathered a puck that squirted to the slot area. He quickly skated to his left and snapped a shot to the right to beat Ostepchuk for his second goal of the season. The Panthers took a 2-0 lead into the locker room, outshooting the Cadets 11-5 in the first 20 minutes.

 Each team failed on a power play opportunity in the second period before Middlebury made it a 3-0 game. Zach Haggerty forced a turnover and quickly skated toward the goal where he found Greg Conrad for a quick redirect, earning his second of the year.

Norwich ended the period with a power play that extended into the third period, but was unable to get on the board. The Cadets held an 8-5 shots advantage in the second period.

Middlebury had a couple of chances to gain some breathing room in the third period, but could not capitalize on a pair of man-advantages.

Norwich went on the power play at the 17:07 mark and pulled Ostepchuk for the extra attacker. The Cadets had a golden opportunity when William Pelletier was denied from the slot before Panther netminder Stephen Klein made a sprawling save on Tyler Piacentini, who was falling to the ice. He again came up big later on the power play to keep the Cadets off the board as he earned his first career shutout with stellar play and 25 saves. The shutout was the first for Middlebury over Norwich since 1991-92. The Panthers hold an 80-61-8 all-time series advantage.