#4 Norwich Holds Off Middlebury 3-1

Owen Powers scored for the Panthers at Norwich on Tuesday.
Owen Powers scored for the Panthers at Norwich on Tuesday.

Fourth-ranked Norwich (13-2-1) scored a pair of goals in 59 seconds in the middle period, en route to a 3-1 victory over visiting Middlebury on Tuesday. Up next for the Panthers (7-6-0) is their final non-conference game of the season, as they host Plattsburgh State on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

Middlebury goalie Jake Horoho made a couple of big saves just over a minute into the game, denying both Jordan Hall and Brett Ouderkirk from the top of the blue paint. The Panthers had a good chance to open the scoring midway through the frame when Alex Heinritz had a bid from point-blank range that Cadet goalie Tom Aubrun turned aside. Norwich had another opportunity in the final two minutes when Philip Elgstam was stopped from inside the right circle, while Cody Downs whistled the rebound wide of the left post.

The visitors pressed early in the second stanza, nearly scoring off a scramble in front of the Cadet net. Matt Danner and Heinritz each had shots from close range that Aubrun stopped. The hosts later struck for a pair of goals 59 seconds apart to claim a 2-0 lead. Taeron Lewis flipped in a shot from the left side of the crease over Horoho's right pad to open the scoring, while with 11:34 expired Elgstam redirected in a pass from the high slot by Gabriel Chicoine.              

The Panthers cut the margin at half with 4:50 on the clock, as Owen Powers skated in from the right side, had initial bid denied by Aubrun, but tucked in the rebound to make it a 2-1 contest. Horoho made that score hold through the end of the period, making a pad save on a breakaway by Scott Swanson in the final minute.

Norwich had a chance to push the difference to two goals in the third frame, when Carter Cowlthorp slid a pass to Braedyn Aubin on the left side, but Horoho made a tremendous save sliding to his right to keep it a one-goal game with 8:28 on the scoreboard. Following a chance by Middlebury's Michael Fahie with just over four minutes remaining, Norwich added an insurance goal by Ryan Boucher with 2:55 on the clock. The Panthers pulled Horoho for an extra skater for the final 1:43 with the hosts keeping the final margin at 3-1.

Horoho finished with 26 stops for the Panthers, while Aubrun had 31 with the visitors holding a 32-29 edge in shots.

Each team had three power plays, with the Cadets scoring the only goal while on the advantage.