Middlebury stormed back from a two-goal deficit in the third period, scoring five unanswered goals on its way to a 6-3 triumph at Plattsburgh State (6-6-2) on Friday. The Panthers (6-6-1) return home next Friday, facing off against NESCAC opponent Colby at 7:00 p.m.
Middlebury had a good opportunity to open the scoring with a chance in the first minute of play. Alex Heinritz pushed the puck to Mitchell Allen to create a 2-on-1, but Allen's shot was turned away by Cardinal goalie Brandon Wells. The hosts quickly countered with a tally 1:25 into the game, as Antoine Desnoyers won a faceoff in the Panther zone and slid a pass to Greg Malafronte on the right side for the redirect and a 1-0 lead.
Plattsburgh State doubled its lead with 11:17 expired, as Malafronte netted his second of the contest on the power play. Ian Wallgren fired a shot from the point that Malafronte collected the rebound and sent it past Panther goalie Brian Ketchabaw. Middlebury trimmed the deficit in half with 4:04 left when Alex Lee's wrister from the point was tipped in by Tyler Capello for his first collegiate goal.
The Panthers came close to tying the contest with 6:17 expired in the middle stanza, as Conor Breen blasted a shot from the left point that Wells turned aside. Capella was on the doorstep for the rebound, but his bid was thwarted by the Cardinal goalie. The hosts extended their lead to 3-1 with the combination of Malafronte and Desnoyers striking again. Malafronte worked the puck to the bottom of the right circle and directed a centering pass to Desnoyes at the far post for the score.
A good start by the visitors in the third period quickly resulted in a tie game. Capello fired a snap shot from the left circle past Wells with 1:02 expired, and 1:49 later Matt Danner scored from the top of the circle on the same side for a 3-3 tie. Middlebury claimed its first lead of the game at the 6:39 mark when Kamil Tkaczuk chipped a shot over Wells from the left side for his fifth tally of the season.
Middlebury's defense tightened up in the late going, killing off a minor penalty and yielding just one shot on goal over the final five minutes. The Panthers secured the come-from-behind win with a pair of empty-net goals from Owen Powers (18:46) and Spencer Cage (19:18).
Ketchabaw made 43 saves for his second victory over the Cardinals this season, while Wells notched 21 stops (46:39) and Fenton Lawson had three (12:50).
The Hosts held a 46-30 edge in shots and went 1-5 on the power play, while the Panthers were 0-3 with the man advantage.