Strong Second Quarter Propels Middlebury Past Colby

A.J. Kucinski registered his 100th-career point as a Panthers in the win over the Mules.
A.J. Kucinski registered his 100th-career point as a Panthers in the win over the Mules.

Middlebury outscored Colby 4-1 in the second quarter, as the visiting Panthers went on to post an 11-10 road NESCAC win Saturday in Maine. The Panthers (5-5, 3-4) remain on the road for a 5:00 p.m. contest at Springfield on Wednesday.

The Mules (3-5, 1-5) opened the scoring with two goals midway through the opening frame, while Chase Goree struck first for the Panthers with 6:51 remaining. After Don Vivian gave Colby a 3-1 lead, Middlebury's Danny Jacobs tied the game with consecutive goals, but the Mules jumped back in front with a late goal.

Middlebury took advantage of a man-up situation in the early stages of the second quarter, as Michael McCormack knotted the game at 4-4. A.J. Kucinski tallied just over three minutes later, while Henry Riehl extended the advantage to 6-4 with 6:45 showing on the clock. C.J. Hassan trimmed the difference to 6-5 for the Mules, but McCormack netted his second score of the quarter, with 1:56 remaining for a 7-5 Panther lead at the half.

Colby pulled to within 7-6 on a goal by Brendan Seiler (6:55), while Goree matched the score with just over a minute remaining. Charlie Lynch made it a one-goal game (8-7) heading into the final quarter, scoring with 16 seconds left in the stanza.

Vivian tied the game 8-8 just 48 seconds into the final frame, but Middlebury tallied twice in a span of 1:25 to take the lead for good. Riehl netted his second of the game with 11:07 on the clock and Wes Quinzani made it a 10-8 contest, cashing in on a feed from Kucinski.

The hosts made it a one-goal contest midway through the period, but Goree completed the hat trick with 6:37 to play. Vivian netted the final goal of the game in the closing minutes, making the final 11-10.

Goree led the Panthers with three goals, while Jacobs and McCormack each had two scores and one assist. Kucinski finished with one goal and two assists, surpassing the 100-career point mark in the victory. In just 28 career games, he has 102 points on 54 goals and 48 assists. Jake Madnick led all players with eight ground balls and went 7-17 on faceoffs, while Eric Rogers gathered four ground balls. Charles Midgley posted eight saves in goal to earn the win.

For Colby, Vivian recorded three goals and two assists, while Tucker Dietrick chipped in with three scores and one helper. John Pappas led the Mules with four ground balls, while Joe Paolatto went 12-23 at the faceoff X. C.J. Layton finished with 17 saves.

Middlebury held a 49-31 advantage in shots, while the hosts held a slim 31-30 margin in ground balls. The Panthers were 1-3 in man-up situations and erased Colby's lone attempt.