Hamilton Blanks Middlebury, 3-0

Travis Stephens led the Panthers with four shots on goal.
Travis Stephens led the Panthers with four shots on goal.

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.