Middlebury rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits, but Bowdoin (1-1-0, 1-1-0) netted a power-play goal in the third period to come away with a 4-3 home NESCAC victory on Saturday over the Panthers (1-1-0, 1-1-0). Middlebury is idle until Friday, facing Plattsburgh State at 4:00 p.m. in the opening round of the PrimeLink ShootOut hosted by Norwich.
Bowdoin scored 4:37 into the game to open up an early 1-0 lead. Keenan Murray fired a shot off Panther goalie Adam Wisco's pads and the rebound kicked straight back to Christian Capello. He collected the puck and put in his first of the year. With 3:28 remaining in the period, Michael Brown carried the puck towards net and passed towards Cam Berube along the right boards. Berube found Austin Ricci in the middle for a quick shot and 2-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, Middlebury responded to cut the lead in half. With traffic in front of Eric Wurman, Panther Bret Pastor put a rebound into the net from close range with an assist from Jimmy McKee.
The Polar Bears extended their lead 5:40 into the second frame. Capitalizing on a 5-on-3 power play, Graham Rutledge controlled the puck on the right point and found Bradley Ingersoll in the high slot. Ingersoll waited for a sliding Middlebury defender to move beyond his shooting lane and bested Wisco.
Middlebury pulled back to within a goal when Zach Shapiro laid out just outside the crease and hooked the puck into the net through a maze of players to pull Middlebury within one midway through the period. That was Shapiro's first collegiate tally.
Just under three minutes into the final period, Shapiro evened the game for the Panthers. Owen Powers put a shot on net from the near right side, which Wurman deflected to the opposite post. Shapiro finished off the rebound and knotted the game at 3-3.
Rutledge scored the game-winner with his first collegiate tally 6:40 into the third with the Polar Bears on the power play. Ingersoll received the puck in the slot from Cody Todesco and slipped a pass to Rutledge on the right point. He one-timed the puck as it came across his body and blasted a shot into the net.
Wurman made a pair of point-blank saves on shorthanded bids by the Panthers in the final minutes to keep the Polar Bears up down the stretch. Bowdoin also withstood a 6-on-5 Middlebury advantage for the final two minutes with Wisco on the bench for the extra attacker.
Wisco was solid in his collegiate debut for the Panthers, finishing with 38 saves, while Wurman had 28 stops for the hosts.
Bowdoin finished with a 42-29 edge in shots and both teams converted on the power play, with Middlebury going 1-4 and the Polar Bears 2-7.