In a game with seven lead changes and a combined 112 shots, Middlebury used some timely goals to fend of Colby 15-12 at Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The seventh-ranked Panthers scored five of their 15 goals with under a minute to play in the first three quarters. With the victory, Middlebury improves to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in NESCAC play and returns to action in a non-league home contest against Springfield on Wednesday, while the Mules (6-4, 2-4) host ninth-ranked Amherst at home on Saturday.
Ten goals were scored in the first quarter as Middlebury jumped out to an early 4-1 lead. Tim Giarrusso highlighted the opening run with a pair of tallies, including his second off a nice feed from David Murray with 5:22 left on the clock. Colby rattled off the next four goals of the contest to take a 5-4 lead as four different Mules scored in a 4:13 span. Austin Sayre capped the run with a stop-and-pivot move from inside 10 yards that blazed by Panther goalie Will Ernst with 50 seconds remaining.
Middlebury scored its first of five late-quarter goals, capitalizing on a turnover deep in Colby territory as Henry Riehl gave Sean Carroll a quick-stick feed with two seconds left to tie the game at five apiece.
The Panthers retook the lead in the second quarter on a Joel Blockowicz tally, before the Mules tacked on a pair for the game's fourth lead change. John Grimaldi's scamper from behind the X gave Colby a 7-6 advantage with 8:19 left in the half.
In the final minute before intermission, Middlebury struck twice, as Blockowicz set-up Riehl on a man-up goal with 54 seconds to play, as Murray followed with a goal 14 seconds later on a nice feed from defenseman Cal Williams after the face-off win by John Jackson.
Trailing 8-7 to open the third quarter, Colby strung three goals together building its largest lead at 10-8 with 10:34 remaining. Sayre bookended the burst with a pair of goals, including the opening salvo, as he beat two defenders and netted a tough-angle shot to tie the game.
The Panthers answered with their own three-goal run, marking the seventh lead change of the contest. Murray started the scoring with a turn-and-shoot tally at 9:01. After a Joey Zelkowitz tally at 7:21 tied the game, Jon Broome netted his second of his game-high four goals at 5:12 as he collected a rebound in front of Colby starting goalie Tyler Will.
Later in the third, Kevin Seiler knotted the game at 11-11 off a centering feed from Derek Youngman, but the Panthers answered with a pair of final-minute tallies, taking a 13-11 lead into the fourth quarter. Broome scored his third goal with 35 seconds left and set up Zelkowitz with 18 ticks left in the stanza for the two-goal cushion.
Giarrusso collected his hat-trick and a 14-11 lead to open the fourth quarter. Colby did score one more to make it a two-goal deficit, but could not get any closer as Broome netted the final goal of the game at 1:15.
Broome finished with four goals and two assists for Middlebury, while Giarrusso added three tallies and one helper. Murray added two goals and an assist, as Blockowicz reversed with a goal and two helpers. Williams led all players with a game-best 10 groundballs and three caused turnovers and added one assist, while Jackson won 20-30 face-offs and nabbed six rollers. Ernst (9-2) played the entire game in net, seeing 49 Colby shots and making 17 saves.
Sayre paced Colby with a hat-trick, as Mark Phillips netted a pair and helped on another. Sam Wasserman chipped in with two goals, while Austin Frank won 10 face-offs and grabbed seven groundballs. Will (6-4) saw 63 shots fly by the crease, as he stopped 22 during 59:04 of action. The 22 saves is second-best for the net-minder this season, as he made 24 saves against Tufts. Reserve Dylan Rothenberg played the final 56 seconds.