Big Second Period Powers Middlebury Past Bowdoin

Travis Stephens dished out three assists in the victory over Bowdoin.
Travis Stephens dished out three assists in the victory over Bowdoin.

Middlebury scored four goals in the second period, three of which came on the power play, as the Panthers netted a 5-1 NESCAC victory over visiting Bowdoin on Saturday. Middlebury (1-13-2, 1-9-0) returns to the ice at 7:00 p.m. on Friday with a road contest at Connecticut College, while Bowdoin (7-10-0, 4-8-0) plays Tuesday at Southern Maine.

The teams skated through a scoreless opening 20 minutes, with Middlebury getting the first quality scoring chance. Defenseman Brendan Dawson collected the puck behind his own net with seven minutes showing on the clock and went on a nice end-to-end rush. He backhanded a shot from the left circle that grazed the cross bar. The Polar Bears had a late chance when Camil Blanchet turned on a loose puck in the slot that Middlebury goalie Stephen Klein smothered.

The Panthers struck for the first goal of the contest on the power play 1:27 into the second period. Danny Jacobs' centering pass went in off Vincent Gisonti and into the Bowdoin net to open the scoring. The hosts took advantage of another man-up opportunity 10 minutes later when Trevor Turnbull cut through the slot and tipped in a pass from Travis Stephens for a 2-0 lead.

Bowdoin countered 1:34 later on a goal by Thomas Dunleavy. Dunleavy took a shot from the left post along the goal line that Klein stopped, but the Polar Bear forward lifted the rebound into the upper corner of the net at the 12:53 mark. The Panthers quickly got the goal back to make 3-1 when Kamil Tkaczuk buried a rebound from the bottom of the right circle 41 seconds later. Middlebury converted on a third power-play opportunity with 3:41 left in the period with Dawson wristing a shot from the point that found its way through traffic for his second goal in as many games. Bowdoin came close to getting one of those goals back with 2:10 remaining on an odd-man rush, but Austin Ricci rang a shot off of the post to keep the score 4-1 at the end of the frame.

In the third period, the Polar Bears made a push and Matt Sullivan nearly converted, but his scoring bid hit the post with less than seven minutes remaining. The Panthers capped the scoring with a fifth goal with 21.4 seconds left when Gisonti picked up his second tally of the game and seventh of the season.

Turnbull finished with a goal and assist, extending his point streak to six games (five goals and four assists).

Klein earned the win for the Panthers with 32 saves, while Bowdoin's Nathan Colannino had 20. The Polar Bears held a 33-25 advantage in shots, but Middlebury excelled on special teams going 3-5 on the power play and erasing all three opportunities for Bowdoin.