Williams' Colby Cretella scored with 10 seconds left in overtime, lifting the Ephs to a 2-1 NESCAC victory over Middlebury (4-15-2, 2-11-2) on Friday in Massachusetts. The teams complete their two-game set on Saturday, with a 7:00 p.m. faceoff in Kenyon Arena.
Williams (11-10-0, 7-8-0) held a territorial advantage in the opening period, holding a 15-3 edge in shots. Special teams were prominent, as the Panthers were a perfect 3-3 on the penalty kill and the Ephs erased two Middlebury opportunities.
The visitors opened the scoring at the 10:31 mark of the middle stanza on an unassisted goal by Vincent Gisonti. The Panther pounced on a turnover, moved into the left circle and wristed a shot over the left shoulder of Eph goalie Stephen Morrissey. Williams tied the contest with 2:20 left in the period when C.J. Shugart came out from behind the net on the right side and used a screen in front to slip a shot past Middlebury's Stephen Klein.
The teams were scoreless in the third period, with the hosts holding a slight 8-5 advantage in shots.
In overtime, Shugart had a quality chance to win the game less than two minutes into the five-minute extra session from the slot, but Klein made a save. Needing an extra point in the standings for a playoff push, the Panthers pulled Klein with 30 seconds remaining with a faceoff at Williams' end of the ice. Cretella scored the deciding goal into the empty net with 10 seconds remaining, after Tyler Scott won the puck on a clear.
Klein recorded 41 saves, moving into second place on Middlebury's all-time save list with 2,027. He enters tomorrow's game one behind the all-time leader Brent Truchon (1989-92). Morrissey collected 20 saves as the hosts held a 43-21 advantage in shots. Williams was 0-6 on the power play and the Panthers were scoreless in five chances.