Men's Hockey Wins for the Third Time in Four Games

Andrew Neary tallied the game-winning goal during Friday's contest with Wesleyan.
Andrew Neary tallied the game-winning goal during Friday's contest with Wesleyan.

Middlebury won for the third time in its last four outings, defeating Wesleyan (10-5-4, 5-4-4) 1-0 on Friday night in Kenyon Arena. Panther goaltender Stephen Klein made 25 saves in the game to earn his second-straight shutout, extending his scoreless streak to 147:52. Middlebury (3-14-2, 3-10-0) returns to action on Saturday when it hosts #14 Trinity at 3:00 p.m., while the Cardinals visit Williams at the same time.

The best chance to score in the first period came from Wesleyan's Walker Harris, but he was denied on a breakaway by a save from Klein. The first 20 minutes ended with the Cardinals holding a 9-3 shots' advantage.

Middlebury's Mark McLellan had a good look in front at the 9:31 mark of the second period, but his shot was saved by Wesleyan goaltender Dawson Sprigings. Less than a minute later, Klein made a nice stop on a snapshot from the left wing by Luke Babock.

The game's only goal came at the 12:16 mark of the second period when Andrew Neary netted his first of the season. Danny Jacobs made a couple of nice moves behind the net to gain some space, before finding Neary in the high slot. After receiving the pass, Neary took one stride before wristing a shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Each team failed on a power-play opportunity later in the period (the only power plays of the game), as the hosts took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.

In the third period, Wesleyan's Andy Espinoza saw his backhander denied by Klein when he was cutting across the goal mouth 3:19 into the period. Middlebury looked to double its lead late in the game, but a nice attempt by Kamil Tkaczuk was stopped on a nice block from Wesleyan defender Rob Harbison. The Cardinals nearly tied the game with 3:00 remaining, but Babcock's blast from the right wing hit the post.

Wesleyan pulled Sprigings for the final 1:10 of the game and nearly tied the contest when a shot from Chad Malinowski in the slot was turned aside by Klein with 36.6 seconds remaining.

Wesleyan finished with a 25-18 shots' advantage in the game, as Sprigings made 17 saves. Klein has now stopped 135 of the last 138 shots he's faced, earning his eighth career shutout. The victory for the Panthers was the second straight with a 1-0 final, after defeating Tufts last Saturday.