Men's Hockey Ends Season in NESCAC Quarterfinals

Kamil Tzaczuk assisted on Middlebury's goal on Saturday.
Kamil Tzaczuk assisted on Middlebury's goal on Saturday.

The Middlebury men's hockey team saw its season come to an end with a 4-1 loss at second-seeded Wesleyan in a NESCAC Quarterfinal matchup. The Panthers held a 31-23 shots advantage in the game, but had trouble getting past Wesleyan netminder Tim Sestak. The Panthers finish their season with a 8-13-4 mark, while the Cardinals (16-7-2) advanced to next weekend's semifinals.

Wesleyan opened the scoring with 8:02 expired after an initial shot by Sean Ross was denied by Middlebury goaltender Brian Ketchabaw. Spencer Fox collected the rebound, before sending a pass from the goal line to Tyler Levine, who one-timed it from the slot for the 1-0 edge.

Middlebury's best chance of the opening stanza came with 16:40 expired. Cole Joslin sent a pass from the right faceoff circle to Jimmy McKee on the far post, but McKee knocked the goal off its mooring before the puck went in.

Out of the intermission, the Panthers looked to knot the game at the 9:32 mark, but Zach Shapiro's backhanded attempt went just wide. Middlebury sent four quick shots at Sestak beginning at the 12:40 mark, but a sprawling-Sestak denied all of them.

The Cardinals increased their lead with 14:09 expired. Jordan Rose blasted a shot towards the goal that netminder Ketchabaw got a piece of, but it fell behind him, putting the Cardinals up 2-0.  

Just two minutes later, Wesleyan extended its lead to 3-0. Andy Espinoza sent a pass from the right faceoff circle across the slot, forcing Ketchabaw off his line to thwart any chances from the doorstep, but Walker Harris was on the left post to tip in the rebound.  

Wesleyan's Tyler Wyatt added a goal in the third before Middlebury cut the deficit to three (4-1) at the 5:58 mark when Michael Fahie one-timed a pass from Kamil Tkaczuk on the doorstep.

Panther Tyle Capello had a great chance to add a tally with 11:43 expired, but Sestak got a foot on the puck, kicking it away to thwart the chance.

Middlebury pulled Ketchabaw with 6:20 remaining, but were unable to close the gap.

Sestak made 30 saves in goal for Wesleyan, while Ketchabaw made 18 stops for the Panthers.