Norwich's Jordan Hall knocked in a rebound with 22.4 seconds remaining, giving the 13th-ranked Cadets a 3-2 non-conference victory over Middlebury on Tuesday. The Panthers (7-8-1) return to NESCAC action Friday at Connecticut College in a 7:00 p.m. start, while Norwich (11-4-3) hosts Castleton at the same time.
The Cadets, who are 5-0-2 in their last seven games, had the early territorial advantage, taking seven of the first eight shots on goal. In the latter stages of the period, the visitors came close to opening the scoring when Noah Williams had his shot from the right side stopped by Panther goalie Brian Ketchabaw, before Coby Downs hit the right post on the rebound attempt.
The Panthers pressed in the final minute, getting two chances from close range. Emack Bentley sent a high shot that hit off Norwich netminder Tom Aubrun's shoulder and Michael Fahie's bid from the slot was also turned aside.
The hosts carried that momentum into the second, scoring on the initial shift. Zach Shapiro intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and rifled a shot into the upper corner of the net from the top of the right circle for a 1-0 lead with 16 seconds expired. Middlebury doubled the advantage just over four minutes later, as Bentley poked in a pass at the left post by Kamil Tkaczuk.
The Cadets cut the deficit in half at the 12:35 mark when Felix Brassard cut to the net from the left side and redirected a pass in from Colby Downs. Middlebury nearly regained its two-goal cushion on a 5-on-3 power play, as Spencer Cage wired a shot off the post with just over two minutes remaining.
In the final period, the visitors knotted the game at 2-2, scoring their second power-play goal of the game at the 3:46 mark. Gabriel Chicoine took a shot from the point and Maxime Borduas banged the rebound in. Middlebury had a power play midway through the frame, with Aubrun making a nice save on a one-timer by Fahie in the left circle.
The paced picked up in the waning minutes, as Ketchabaw made back-to-back stops from close range on Taeron Lewis and a follow-up bid by Ryan Boucher with 1:20 on the clock. Fahie countered 30 seconds later, redirecting a centering pass from Tkaczuk that Aubrun turned away. The Cadets netted the winning goal with Jack Griffin getting a shot blocked in the right circle and Hall slipping the rebound into the Panther net in the closing seconds.
Ketchabaw stopped 33-36 shots he faced, while Aubrun made 20 saves on 22 shots. Middlebury came up empty in four power plays, while Norwich went 2-4.