Middlebury Falls to #15 Hobart in Tournament Title Game, 3-0

Bret Pastor had three shots on goal for the Panthers against Hobart.
Bret Pastor had three shots on goal for the Panthers against Hobart.

Hobart scored a pair of goals in the opening period, skating to a 3-0 victory over Middlebury on Sunday to win the 2018 Middlebury Holiday Classic. The Panthers (5-4-1) are at Wesleyan on Friday at 7:00 p.m., while the 15th-ranked Statesmen (9-4-0) return home the same night to face Potsdam. In the consolation game, #11 University of New England held off Johnson & Wales 4-3.

Hobart took advantage of a power play at the 6:21 mark of the first period to open the scoring. Lawson MacDougall wristed a shot from the right circle over the shoulder of Panther goalie Adam Wisco. The Statesmen doubled the lead just under five minutes later in transition, as Will Harrison converted a centering feed from Dean Sliney.

Middlebury's best chance came with three seconds remaining on a strange bounce. Bret Pastor dumped the puck in from the right side, ricocheting off the glass toward the Hobart net with goalie Alexander Connal sliding back into his crease to make a toe save.

The hosts had a good chance to cut into the Statesmen lead in the second period with a five-minute power play. Hobart ended up with the best scoring opportunity during that time when Zach Tyson rang a shot off the right post with 14:23 on the clock while shorthanded. The Panthers got on the scoreboard at the midway point, when Conor Breen snuck a low shot from the left point through traffic that Connal kicked aside.

In the final frame, the Statesmen increased the lead to 3-0, when Mike Faulkner fired a shot from the slot past Wisco at the 8:04 mark. The Panthers had another five-minute power play and Hobart was whistled for an additional minor penalty a minute later giving the hosts a full two-minute 5-on-3. Middlebury came within inches of getting on the board when Mitchell Allen's shot leaked through Connal, but defenseman Tanner Shaw swept the puck away just before it crossed the goal line to preserve the shutout.

Wisco finished with 28 saves for Middlebury, while Connal stopped all 15 he faced for the Statesmen. The Panthers finished 0-4 on the power play, while Hobart scored once in three opportunities.

Most Valuable Player: Julien Deincourt (Hobart)

All-Tournament Team: Lawson MacDougall (Hobart), Alexander Connal (Hobart), Michael Fahie (Middlebury), Kamil Tkaczuk (Middlebury), Trevor Momot (Johnson & Wales) and Brett Mecrones (University of New England).