Middlebury Drops Home Opener to Conn. College, 4-2

Mark McLellan assisted on both Panther goals.
Mark McLellan assisted on both Panther goals.

The Middlebury men's hockey team dropped its home opener Friday, as visiting Connecticut College scored three times in the third period, skating away with a 4-2 victory in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers (0-5-0, 0-3-0) are home again Saturday, hosting Tufts at 3:00 p.m., while the Camels (1-4-0, 1-2-0) travel to Williams.

Middlebury tallied the lone goal of the opening period when the Panthers were able to control the puck in the corner. Trevor Turnbull banked a pass off of the side of the net to Vincent Gisonti and he quickly moved the puck to his backhand and slid a shot past Camel goalie Austin Essery at the 12:58 mark.

Conn. College had a chance to pull even with a late power play, but the Panthers erased the penalty to carry a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

The Camels knotted the score 11:33 into the middle stanza when Jon Paris caused a turnover behind the Middlebury net. Paris sent a short pass out to the bottom of the left circle where Jeff Thompson lifted a shot into the upper right corner of the net.

The hosts regained their one-goal led (2-1) with 3:52 remaining in the period on Gisonti's second tally of the game. The Panther forward took a pass from Joey Piccinini as he cut through the slot and took two shots on goal, with the second attempt slipping past Essery. His second goal of the contest was his team-leading third of the young season. Middlebury carried play for most of the period, holding a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal.

Conn. College tied the game (2-2) 2:44 into the third period when Jacob Moreau blasted a shot from the slot through traffic while his team was on the power play. Just over four minutes later, the Camels took their first lead of the game when Jon Paris poked in a rebound, following up on a shot by Thompson. The visitors made it 4-2 at the 9:55 mark when Kevin Doyle forced a turnover in the neutral zone and wristed a shot from the left circle off the post and in.

The Panthers pulled goalie Stephen Klein twice in the final three-plus minutes for an extra attacker, but were not able to close the gap as the Camels ended their 17-game winless streak (0-16-1) dating back to last season.

Klein made 19 saves as the Panthers held a slight 26-23 advantage in shots, while Essery made 22 stops. The Camels were 1-3 on the power play and Middlebury was scoreless in its lone attempt.