Norwich scored four-unanswered goals, breaking a 1-1 tie en route to a 5-1 home victory over the Middlebury men's hockey team on Tuesday. The Panthers (3-11-0) return to NESCAC play on Friday, traveling to Colby for a 7:00 p.m. start.
The 11th-ranked Cadets (11-4-1) jumped out to the lead, scoring 2:48 into the opening period. Taeron Lewis took a drop pass from Ryan Boucher in the left circle and wired a shot past Middlebury goalie Stephen Klein. Norwich nearly doubled its lead less than two minutes later, but Scott Swanson's shot on the rush hit the post.
Middlebury tied the game at the 12:05 mark of the first period, as Connor Lloyd pounced on a free puck in the slot in and beat Cadet goalie Braeden Ostepchuk for his first collegiate goal. The hosts regained the lead (2-1) with 4:43 on the clock when Jordan Hall tucked a rebound under the cross bar.
The Cadets produced the lone goal of the middle stanza, as Jack Griffin fired a shot over Klein from the right circle with 14:04 expired. The Panthers made a push later in the period, as Trevor Turnbull had a shot from the slot that Ostepchuk turned away, before Lloyd swept the rebound wide. Just over a minute later, a scoring bid by Middlebury's Frank Cosolito from the point grazed off the post.
Middlebury opened the final period by erasing a five-on-three Norwich power play that lasted 1:35 and then were awarded its first power play minutes later. Charlie Lawrence and David Belluche each had shots on goal for the Panthers on the advantage, but the visitors weren't able to make it a one-goal game. The Cadets made it a 4-1 contest at the 7:46 mark, as Boucher won a faceoff back to Felix Brassard, who scored from the inside edge of the right circle. The game's final tally came with 3:05 left, when Swanson wristed a shot from the left side for the 5-1 final.
Klein finished with 26 saves for the Panthers, while Ostepchuk made 19 for the hosts. Norwich held a 31-20 edge in shots and both teams came up empty on the power play, with the Cadets getting four chances and the Panthers three.