Middlebury saw its bid to claim the Middlebury Holiday Classic Title come up one goal short as Neumann skated away with a 2-1 victory on Sunday in Kenyon Arena. The Knights were led by goalie Tyler LeFebvre, as he finished the game with 47 saves on 48 Panther shots. He was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player going 2-0 and stopping 80-82 shots in the tournament. The Panthers (4-3-3) return to action on Saturday as they host Wesleyan at 7:00 p.m., while Neumann (8-4) travels to Fredonia for a 7:00 p.m. start on Friday.
The teams remained scoreless after the first period, with the Panthers getting the best scoring chance. Brendan McGovern collected a rebound for Middlebury at the near post, but shuffled the puck through the crease and wide of the mark.
Neumann opened the scoring 3:12 into the second period on a goal by Jon Low, as he redirected a pass at the far post from Brandon Gagne.
The Knights doubled that lead just over four minutes later on a play that started along the near boards. Collin O'Neill gained control of the puck and sent a short pass to Anthony Pino, who then fed Zac Lazzaro at the far post. Lazzaro one-timed the pass for his third goal of the season.
The Panthers broke through for their first goal of the game three seconds after their first power play of the game expired. Travis Stephens collected the puck at his own goal line and went on an end-to-end rush, before putting a wrist shot under the cross bar. That goal came 15:18 into the period and cut the deficit in half.
Each team then had a chance on a Neumann power play. Jake Davidson had the one for the Knights as he rang a shot off the post, and seconds later Middlebury's Zach Haggerty pushed a shot wide on an odd-man rush.
Middlebury had its chances in the third, which included a power play 12:19 into the period. On that advantage, Spencer Cage and Mark McLellan each had quality scoring opportunities, but both were denied by LeFebvre.
The Panthers came within inches of getting the equalizer with goalie Stephen Klein pulled for an extra attacker. Kamil Tkaczuk had two pokes at a loose puck by the near post in the final five seconds, but the Knights held on for the win.
Klein finished the game with 27 saves for Middlebury as the Panthers held a 48-29 advantage in shots.