Hamilton scored twice in the first period and added an empty-net goal in the final minutes as the Continentals remained unbeaten with a 3-0 win over Middlebury Friday in Kenyon Arena. Hamilton goalie Evan Buitenhuis stopped all 21 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. The Panthers (0-7-0, 0-5-0) are home again Saturday against Amherst with a 3:00 p.m. faceoff, while the Continentals (6-0-1, 3-0-1) will visit Williams.
The guests opened the scoring at the 6:12 mark of the first period, scoring in transition. Neil Conway carried the puck up the right wing into the Panther zone and sent a cross-ice pass to Conor Lamberti, who fired a shot from the left circle past Middlebury goalie Stephen Klein.
Hamilton made it a 2-0 contest with 8:06 on the clock, taking advantage of a power play. Robbie Murden's wrist shot from the left point went through traffic into the back of Panther net.
Middlebury had a productive power play late in the period, starting with a sharp shot from the left circle by Greg Conrad that Buitenhuis kicked out with his left pad. The Continental goalie also denied Brendan Dawson and Joey Piccinini during the two-minute advantage to keep the score 2-0 at the end of the opening 20 minutes.
In the middle frame, the Panthers appeared to get on the scoreboard when Conrad jammed in a loose puck by the right post with 12:25 on the clock. Following a discussion by the referees, it was determined the puck was covered by Buitenhuis and the goal was waved off.
Klein kept it a two-goal game with a pretty right pad save, sliding across the crease to thwart and opportunity by Hamilton's Neil Conway with just under six minutes remaining in the second period.
Holding a 2-0 lead at the start of the third stanza, Buitenhuis got some help from his defense when Jon Carkeek swept away a puck that was sliding toward the goal line off of a shot from Middlebury's Travis Stephens. Buitenhuis later made his toughest save of the night while Hamilton was on the power play, using his left pad to deny Mitchell Allen on a shorthanded breakaway.
The Panthers pulled Klein with 3:43 left in the game, but the Continentals tacked on an insurance goal into an empty net just over a minute later from Truman Landowski to make the final 3-0.
Klein finished with 31 saves as Hamilton held a 34-21 advantage in shots. The Continentals went 1-5 on the power play, while the Panthers were scoreless in two opportunities.
With the shutout, Hamilton took over as the top defensive team in the country with a 1.14 goals against average. The Continentals have only allowed two goals in four NESCAC games and eight in seven games overall.