Nick Rutigliano scored with three seconds left, lifting Hamilton (4-2-1, 2-1-1) to a 4-3 win over Middlebury (4-3-0, 3-2-0) Friday in Kenyon Arena. The Panthers return to action on Saturday when they host Amherst at 4:00 p.m., while Hamilton visits Williams with a 3:00 p.m. start.
Scoring chances were hard to come by early, with the best opportunity coming on Hamilton's power play at the 16:01 mark. Rory Gagnon broke in all alone, but saw the puck poke checked away by Panther netminder Adam Wisco. Middlebury had a chance of its own 1:26 later, but Owen Powers' blast after a pass from Zach Shapiro was saved by Continental goaltender Anthony Tirabassi.
Middlebury took a 1-0 lead 1:46 into the second period. Kamiil Tkaczuk took the puck away from a defender behind the Hamilton net. He quickly fed Micahel Fahie, who went up high for his team-leading fifth goal of the year.
On the other end of the ice, Hamilton's Josh Labonte had a chance to tie the game, but his shot from the right side rang the post. The Continentals were able to tie the game 6:59 into the period when Gagnon scored with a shot to the top-right corner of the net after a drop pass from Jason Brochu on the power play. Hamilton went up 2-1 when Brochu scored a goal of his own, converting a cross-crease pass from Sean Allen for a power-play tally at 10:14. The Continentals added another power-play goal less than two minutes later with a wrist shot from the high slot into the upper part of the net by Rutigliano. The tally was the third in a 5:04 span for Hamilton.
Middlebury broke up the three-goal run at the 17:23 mark with a goal shortly after a power play had expired. Fahie netted his second of the game, this one on the doorstep after a nice feed from behind the net by Cole Joslin.
Middlebury tied the game 8:47 into the third period with a power-play goal. Shapiro made a pass from behind the net to Jimmy McKee, who scored on a one-timer from the slot for his first of the season. The Panthers followed with some good looks on a power play, but could not take the lead.
The game remained at 3-3 until late, when Joey Moore skated from the corner toward the goal, before finding Rutigliano in the high slot for the game-winner.
Middlebury finished the game with a 40-29 lead in shots, as Wisco finished with 25 saves. Tirabassi ended the night with 37 stops to pick up the win.